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June 1, 2009 7:02 PM   Subscribe

So I can understand why Sys Rq's outing post was on shakey ground but how much astroturfing should Metafilter tolerate?

I mean, if a guy who worked at, oh, say Pfizer, came on and spent a lot of time shilling Viagra or Celebrex while all the while pretending to, uh, sell cars for a living, I would hope that the powers that be would kick me him squarely in the groin.

For comparison sake, I'm in a sort of informal betting pool over who get's invited "not back" to the pharmaceutical industry over this. Why should Metafilter not hold itself to the same standard?

I mean fake peer reviewed journal? Fuuuuuuck!
posted by Kid Charlemagne to Etiquette/Policy at 7:02 PM (527 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Yeah, that sucked. I got a MeMail from another poster in that thread saying they regretted a comment they made and I went over to delete it and then saw all the "Hey this guy is really THIS GUY" and was like "oh shit, against the rules" (which I still think is true) but then gave everything a closer read and was really not too thrilled with the poster who other people were trying to out. So I talked to mathowie about it and figure it would wind up in MeTa which is probably where it should be.

Sorry to seem like I was covering up for some huckster, we've just got sort of a bright line about not writing "$MeFite is actually $IRL_person" on the Blue.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:05 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I basically knew it would be deleted, because that sort of thing is totally against the rules. I was just a bit frustrated that my nudge-nudge-wink-wink comments leading up to that one seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Anyway: Somebody signed up specifically for that thread. Somebody hid behind his mother's purported credentials. Somebody got called out on it.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:14 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ooh I love this game! Was it Tom Cruise?
posted by ND¢ at 7:16 PM on June 1, 2009 [22 favorites]


It was a fun night at the Blue. Now for the after party.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


What the hell is going on?
posted by Damn That Television at 7:18 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Thanks for this, as I was also wondering what the line is. I understand why it was deleted, and I was glad to have seen it before it was. It adds quite a lot (for me) to the comments by that user.
posted by rtha at 7:20 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell is going on.
posted by blenderfish at 7:21 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm outing myself as a figment of Cameron's imagination. Woah
posted by allen.spaulding at 7:21 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's pretty disturbing that the thread can stand as if the guy really is an "expert", and that he mother is actually a respectable scientist. It sounded fishy from the start. Ick.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:22 PM on June 1, 2009


Is this going to be on the director's cut or commentary track, because I have no idea what's going on.
posted by odinsdream at 7:22 PM on June 1, 2009


Sys Rq's meatspace identity was outed in this thread but the outing comment was deleted.
posted by Kattullus at 7:22 PM on June 1, 2009


I think this is a fine summary of "what the hell is going on".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess I can see why it was deleted but I am glad that Sys Rq pointed it out. As rtha says, it puts a whole new spin on things. I was actually starting to feel bad for the guy for a few minutes there.
posted by LeeJay at 7:23 PM on June 1, 2009


Can anyone explain why it's better to require a week's effort to post a question to mefi, but not a week to post on the Blue? They're both "I only registered for this", but I'd wager the stakes are lower with askMe.
posted by pwnguin at 7:23 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq's meatspace identity

Guess again!
posted by Sys Rq at 7:24 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


pwnguin: "Can anyone explain why it's better to require a week's effort to post a question to mefi, but not a week to post on the Blue? They're both "I only registered for this", but I'd wager the stakes are lower with askMe."

Uh, this was a comment.
posted by subbes at 7:26 PM on June 1, 2009


To me the real shocker is that only now are the mainstream media catching on to the fact that Oprah likes to promote pseudo-scientific, touchy-feely spiritual healing horseshit.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:27 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Sys Rq's meatspace identity was outed in this thread but the outing comment was deleted.

No, Sys Rq pointed out that jakeelala (a poster who signed up specifically to defend some statements made about BHRT) was not as unbiased as he claimed to be and was actually quite close to someone in the middle of the current controversy surrounding "bio-identicals."

Hopefully that's not crossing a line.
posted by LeeJay at 7:27 PM on June 1, 2009


Sys Rq: Guess again!

Yes. Sorry. Too fast, too sleepy. I'll note that if you look through the thread you can still find some pretty heavy hinting of the meatspace reveal.
posted by Kattullus at 7:28 PM on June 1, 2009


Yes. Sorry. Too fast, too sleepy. I'll note that if you look through the thread you can still find some pretty heavy hinting of the meatspace reveal.

My sentences... they are not necessarily saying what I want them to say... the impersonal you, not Sys Rq.

Ack... sordid business all around.
posted by Kattullus at 7:32 PM on June 1, 2009


So, jakeelala is Rusty Bottoms?
posted by brain_drain at 7:35 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


goddamn, what a mess.
posted by boo_radley at 7:35 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I once when on a date with a girl who was really hot and during dinner I found out she was really into astrology and how that it was her passion and how me calling her lined up really well with something. I kept saying, "That's great, that's interesting." So through some mystery power I no longer possess I manage to convince her to come back and we make out but nothing more and as she's leaving she's looking through my books and mentions that I should pick up some books on astrology and I really offhandedly go "I don't think so, that's all bullshit." That was a really asshole thing to do, but at the same time I was right, and if ever that story was a perfect metaphor for something, this is it.
posted by geoff. at 7:35 PM on June 1, 2009 [34 favorites]


$MeFite is really ND¢!

Now we have dollars and cents.

And crap, now I have to have two windows open?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:36 PM on June 1, 2009


Sorry, I meant comment.
posted by pwnguin at 7:37 PM on June 1, 2009


Astrology doesn't usually give people cancer based on untested and unproven treatments, though.
posted by winna at 7:37 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this stuff is hard to sort out. The [sinister music] We Know Who You Are thing is creepy, and I did flag some of the overtly outing comments in that thread, but on the other hand, jakeelala was right from the start clearly one of those True Believers who have a whole prepared routine and coast around the innertubes looking to take on all comers. Kind of like that watercressprincess person in the Christine Maggiore HIV denial thread.

It did seem redolent of Eau de Givewell. I mean, there are still a few people in that thread who think jakeelala is some poor well-meaning noob who got piled on unfairly by the snark brigade. Yuck.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2009


At least now I know what hard core taters are.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Mods, how much longer does this guy get to play this "Pay no attention to the mom behind the curtain!" game?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


So I kind of had a weird feeling about jakeela, but I was expecting more 'it worked for me, and nobody should be prevented from feeling this good!' and less 'my mom is a doctor [a very specific doctor, it turns out] and I am an expert by osmosis on this topic!'

What a weird, weird thread.
posted by librarylis at 7:40 PM on June 1, 2009


I have a magic bullet that can protect you from ever getting cancer.

Well, it's just a regular bullet, but still.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [27 favorites]


Hurf durf Wiley outer.
posted by MegoSteve at 7:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


My father actually is a professor of pharmacology, if that's what this is about.

Okay, psychopharmacology. Damn it. You got me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:42 PM on June 1, 2009


Now to actually address the issue.

I do not care much about privacy or anonymity for myself. I do, however, respect the wishes of others to remain anonymous and to have all the privacy they want. I can understand Sys Rq's motivation, one of the things I totally loose my cool over are people who prey on the vulnerability of others while putting it in a scientific or spiritual guise.

Let me take an example. Mediums bug me, but people who charge for the purported service of channeling the words of someone's deceased loved one have been known to induce fits of apopleptic rage in me. But that doesn't mean that mediums and those who defend them should be treated any differently than other people. I don't really see a difference in this case. Yeah, it's a sordid business but that doesn't make outing people who wish to remain anonymous okay.
posted by Kattullus at 7:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astrology doesn't usually give people cancer

Actually astrology gives around one out of every twelve people who use it Cancer.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:43 PM on June 1, 2009 [106 favorites]


There was a bit of unnecessary meanness in that thread. After all, he's off to med school. In a few years, he might have a promising career in anthropology.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:45 PM on June 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


That was a really asshole thing to do, but at the same time I was right, and if ever that story was a perfect metaphor for something, this is it.

I dunno...maybe the lesson of that story is: if you're an asshole, but right, you're still an asshole.

I sure as hell not sticking up Mr. Bio-identical, but a lot of that thread was really unpleasant, even before the outing. I don't think anybody should be doing a victory dance.
posted by neroli at 7:45 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


bastard spammers with a name similar to mine. I don't know how all you specialK and PinkSomethings cope!
posted by jacalata at 7:45 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, jakeelala is Rusty Bottoms?

I thought jakeelala was Rusty Shackleford.
posted by MikeMc at 7:45 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Like someone else said in that thread jakeelala or whatever his name is really played out like any other spammer/Pepsi-Blue'er except this particular Pepsi turns out to be really fucking specific. But it followed the same pattern of someone who just signed up to comment; followed by technical posts and vague group attacks; followed by personal attacks and denial after outing; followed by tantrums. Maybe not the best thread with regard to tone, but basically the hive mind had him pegged from the outset.
posted by R_Nebblesworth at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


There is only one Harrods, there is only one PinkSomething.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:47 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


geoff, You Could be the One.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:48 PM on June 1, 2009


I don't really see a difference in this case. Yeah, it's a sordid business but that doesn't make outing people who wish to remain anonymous okay.

I can understand that but how many times has a self-linker been outed here? Someone makes a post and within three comments someone has pinpointed their real name and posted a whois search. Is this really that different? Why is it OK to point out when a self-linker is trying to pull the wool over our eyes (and post their real-life identities in the process) but not when someone is doing the same thing within a comment thread?
posted by LeeJay at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


there is only one PinkSomething

Enough about Suzanne Somers' vagina already.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


What's ironic is, right before tuning in to this thread, I caught the scene from Clerks where the guy's hanging around threatening people about the evils of smoking until Dante's girlfriend exposes him as an employee of Chewies' Gum company.

Then I come here and find this.

I'm half expecting to see a hockey game break out in the thread now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Actually astrology gives around one out of every twelve people who use it Cancer.

Naw, just crabs.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


*digs out Soul Asylum cassette*
posted by LeeJay at 7:52 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well when I commented about the hive mind acting like a pack of dogs in that thread I meant, you know, the kind of dogs that solve crime. Like Scooby Doo.
posted by Sailormom at 7:52 PM on June 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


i've never posted on the internet about this before. jakeelala is a handle i use for internet forums, but this is not something i've ever discussed before. sorry to break up your conspiracy. i did grow up for the last 13 years hearing about this every day.

in fact, i was very skeptical of my mothers work (due to a lack of familiarity) for a long time. it wasn't until i started talking to the doctors that i decided she was really on to something. in the last couple of years.

wiley watch is the website of someone my mother didn't want to be in business with who has held a grudge ever since. her former partner Bent and her split ways, there's no denying that, but the wiley watch website does not give an accurate story of what happened during the time they worked together, or how or why it ended. out of respct for all parties involved i wont try to change that here.

that's all i have to say about that, you've all seen the comment thread.
posted by jakeelala at 7:54 PM on June 1, 2009


I was just about to call it a night and go to bed.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:56 PM on June 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


I really think that editing out all of the 'I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT HORMONES AND BIG PHARMA SUXXXORS' comments, as well as the Plucky Internet Detective comments, would serve that thread much better.

Yes, I agree that outing an individual who wishes to be anonymous is wrong. But Astroturfing is also wrong, yes?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2009


Why is it OK to point out when a self-linker is trying to pull the wool over our eyes (and post their real-life identities in the process) but not when someone is doing the same thing within a comment thread?

One's usually a good faith sort of thing, the other not?

this thread loads much faster.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2009


jakeelala: what are the 11 secret herbs and spices?
You are the Colonel, right?
posted by isopraxis at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2009


Okay, also... Jebus... the guy's standing up for his mother.
posted by Kattullus at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems a bit ass-forward for astroturfing, no? They were posting from their iPhone.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:58 PM on June 1, 2009


It's actually Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson co-posting.
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I agree that jakeelala was being duplicit in commenting without full disclosure. If you can't say how you're related to the topic at hand, then maybe you should stay out of the discussion.
posted by nola at 7:59 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


One's usually a good faith sort of thing, the other not?

Maybe. The thing is, I'm not convinced that this was in good faith on jakeelala's part. But like Kattullus says, he is standing up for his mom and all. It won't ruin my night if everything related to this whole mess gets disappeared.
posted by LeeJay at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2009


Is this really that different? Why is it OK to point out when a self-linker is trying to pull the wool over our eyes (and post their real-life identities in the process) but not when someone is doing the same thing within a comment thread?

Self-linkers are against the rules in the same way that outing someone is - like a hard and fast rule. I'm not even totally sure I did the right thing here, but I felt that putting someone's real name next to their handle is just not something we do here, not even to assholes and self-promoters and family-promoters and tools and n00bs and jerkoffs.

Once you start saying "it's okay as long as the person is really bad" you wind up in a situation where you have to make a judgment call about how "really bad" someone has to be for it to be okay for them to be outed. As it is, the guy's really digging his own hole and there's enough information to identify him and his mom which nasreddin has done in a way that I think makes the connection without the problematic outing angle.

In fact, when people go all batshit in MeTa and start posting information about self-linkers, we pretty much reign that in as well. The torch and pitchfork thing isn't really something that we see here too often. I'm sorry if that is tough for some people. We'd get a lot of hound-dog type emails from self-linkers or people who worked for the same companies who were really agitated at googling themselves and finding a bunch of comments here by people who were saying that they should be injured and/or mistreated. You can say "oh yeah well they deserved it!" but I think 1) there should be a limit and people step over that line here in Meta occasionally 2) a lawsuit against the site because one person couldn't resist a little extra spleen vent would be a damned shame.

So yeah, it's a quandary. And I hate to think that we're over-moderating just because we're afraid of fallout or blowback or whatever. On the other hand, I don't think MeFi becomes less excellent because people can't post people's home addresses or wish specific ill will on them or their families. It's a tough line to walk, those are my thoughts on it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2009 [32 favorites]


nola: EXACTLY.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:00 PM on June 1, 2009


i missed out on a lot of work today i should have been doing to respond. none of this wa canned or pre-thought. and yes, at one point i was on a shuttle home from work and posted from my iPhone.

I'm a real human being. I don't do what my mothers does. I want to because she's brilliant and helping lots of people. so now im going to med school so i will never have to struggle like she does because she didn't have the advantage of getting to go to medical school, and came late in life to her passion.
you keep looking for some sort of evil, conniving plot. there isn't one.
posted by jakeelala at 8:02 PM on June 1, 2009


wiley watch is the website of someone my mother didn't want to be in business with who has held a grudge ever since.

Somehow I don't find this convincing. In fact, a very smart guy I know made a really good point recently about how we shouldn't take one person's word at face value if they're trying to discredit someone.
posted by nasreddin at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, I don't think MeFi becomes less excellent because people can't post people's home addresses or wish specific ill will on them or their families.

Just for the record, none of the deleted comments did either of those things.

Still, yes, totally delete-worthy.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2009


Is it me, or did jakeelala just admit that he's only 13?
posted by mmoncur at 8:05 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't want to put this in the thread, because at one point, it had the potential to be a great thread, but ever since this comment by jakeelala, I've been craving sweet potato and edamame curry. It's better than horse pee!
posted by zinfandel at 8:06 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


So apparently jakeelala is a first timer at adding comments where anyone has questions or criticisms of his mother's home business; but other family members (perhaps?) seem to be in on the strategy.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:07 PM on June 1, 2009


Look dude no one is saying you're a bad guy ( that I know of) it has nothing to do with a evil, conniving plot, it has to do with showing up in thread like a disinterested third party. When in fact you are anything but disinterested. I'm sure you're a good guy, and I'm sorry you're getting raked over the coals here, but now would be a good time to just bow out. Cut your losses.
posted by nola at 8:07 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


So jakeelala claims knowledge based on her (I thought it read female) mother's "credentials." Would it be logical to think that jakeelala would be as outspoken against her critics as her father is? I give them credit for facing their critics.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:08 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


wiley watch is the website of someone my mother didn't want to be in business with who has held a grudge ever since.

Oh, and here she is. Maybe she'll address those allegations in this thread.
posted by nasreddin at 8:08 PM on June 1, 2009


You fuckers better not out me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:08 PM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


Just for the record, none of the deleted comments did either of those things.

Yeah sorry, didn't mean to imply they did; they're things we've seen here in MeTa historically.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:09 PM on June 1, 2009


jakeelala has gone all lowercase now, like he's the Uriah Heep of Metafilter or something, too 'umble for the shift key.

Come on - I'm all in favor of preserving anonymity as a general rule, but it comes with some premises and assumptions built in, like you're not a sockpuppet/astroturfer/Pepsi Blue shill with a hidden vested financial interest. When you come into a thread and specifically direct people's eyes away from making that connection - like, I dunno, by saying, "I have no association with Susan Somers. I do have a vested interest in the accurate reporting and discussion of bio identical hormones, treatment, and facts." - then the outing is just deserts.
posted by chinston at 8:11 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Popcorn came up in that one too.

Zen koan of the day: What is the sound of the other shoe dropping?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:11 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


... out of popcorn... five in the am local time... go out? Just make coffee (will espresso machine wake household)? Favorite it, come back after lunch. What a clusterfuck.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:11 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think we've done enough.
posted by nola at 8:12 PM on June 1, 2009


Is it too late to just refund the $5?

and I mean for me. I could use the money and my life back.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:14 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seriously, I think that stuff like this:

Premarin is poison, and it does give you breast cancer (among many other things)

needs to be cut out of that thread. I agree that it was wrong, wrong, wrong to out the anonymous poster, but I think it's wrong and dangerous to leave all of these crap ex cathedra assertions, given the number of people who seem to be taking said poster's "credentials" and "knowledge" seriously.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:14 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


he's the Uriah Heep of Metafilter

Taaake me across the waaateeer...
posted by nasreddin at 8:15 PM on June 1, 2009


Then while we are at it, can't the mods just repost the Oprah story and just call the old one a double post and delete it?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2009


I've gotten confused in that thread. Suzanne Sommers puts caramel corn in her vagina?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:16 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Caramel corn made of bio-identical potatoes, and only in a gel form. Nothing crazy.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:17 PM on June 1, 2009


Ok jakeelala, everything's cool. One question: big Three's Company fan here. Any chance of an autograph? Because having a signed 8x10 of Don Knotts would pretty much make my life.
posted by item at 8:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Then while we are at it, can't the mods just repost the Oprah story and just call the old one a double post and delete it?

I think this is by far the best answer. Post a bioidentical thread derived from plant sources and not including people who make their living from this stuff or their family members.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:18 PM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


I don't understand where someone without even a bachelor's degree gets, well, the cheek to start developing a ProtocolTM and weighing in on medical/scientific issues and being at the center of a scientific controversy, testifying in front of a Senate subcommittee and so forth, without even a shred of the credentials that it generally takes to get taken seriously as even the most common, unremarkable contributor in a scientific field. It's quite amazing, really, the brazenness of it.

To come up with an example from my field, it would be like somebody who dropped out of a paralegal studies program suddenly emerging as an internationally regarded expert on, I don't know, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or something.
posted by jayder at 8:21 PM on June 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


1. jakeelala seems only slightly sketchy to me, but she/he probably should've stayed away from Metafilter.
2. Most of you are assholes
posted by Burhanistan at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope the next thread I do someone like this shows up.

Off to make my Danzig/Ann Coulter post!
posted by cjorgensen at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


you keep looking for some sort of evil, conniving plot. there isn't one.
posted by jakeelala at 11:02 PM on June 1 [+] [!]


I don't think most people see a conniving evil plot in the MeFi thread.

One of the big problems with most 'alternative' medicines is not that their proponents have some conniving plot. Their intentions are often entirely good. They just want to help as many people as possible as best they can. The real problems come when people push treatments that they 'believe' in whole-heartedly, but are not supported by valid scientific evidence, thus luring people away from demonstrably effective treatments. Until there is solid scientific backing behind something it should not be promoted. This happens very often and can affect many people's health and so whenever supposed 'alternative' medicines come up it can generate anger in a lot of people.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2009 [16 favorites]


Any chance of an autograph? Because having a signed 8x10 of Don Knotts would pretty much make my life.

Don died in 2006. I'm sorry.
posted by jamaro at 8:26 PM on June 1, 2009


1. jakeelala seems only slightly sketchy to me, but she/he probably should've stayed away from Metafilter.
2. Most of you are assholes


3. You can't copy and paste comments on an iPhone.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:27 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Don died in 2006. I'm sorry.

I just thought that if anyone would have access to a reserve stash, our New User might.
posted by item at 8:28 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want my goddamned Zeebleflorp pen, and I want it now.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:29 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: she/he probably should've stayed away from Metafilter
posted by found missing at 8:29 PM on June 1, 2009


Once you start saying "it's okay as long as the person is really bad" you wind up in a situation where you have to make a judgment call about how "really bad" someone has to be for it to be okay for them to be outed.

One of the best aspects of Mefi is that you guys do make judgement calls rather than relying on hard and fast rules. I'm not sure why there's a problem making a judgement call about jakeelala that says "Get the fuck off our site and don't ever come back."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:30 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Every day without Don Knotts I miss him more. The world just gets smaller and smaller the more it recedes from a time when he was in it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:30 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sure has slowed down in the main thread. Did the conversation veer into an escalating war of outing that is being deleted so quickly that the waters only appear stagnant?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:30 PM on June 1, 2009


Oh, shit, the son of Dr. Wily is on the loose? Mega Man, we need you to fight for justice and true peace! Kapwing!

One boss fight later...

Get equipped with Vagina Hormone Beam! [rockin' synth beat]
posted by ignignokt at 8:32 PM on June 1, 2009 [16 favorites]


Reading this over, I'm so glad my secret identity means jack squat.
posted by The Whelk at 8:33 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


They're just about to start counting comments, I think.

Anyway.

Did anyone see that Oprah where Dr. Oz laid out a human colon and Oprah got to prod at it?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:33 PM on June 1, 2009


2. Most of you are assholes

I am shocked by this revelation! Shocked I say.
posted by MikeMc at 8:33 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Reading this over, I'm so glad my secret identity means jack squat.

The perfect cover.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:34 PM on June 1, 2009



The perfect cover.


(CUE MARACAS AND SINISTER DRUMS)
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on June 1, 2009


Is this the same jakeelala?
posted by exogenous at 8:36 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, from the randi.org thread debv linked to, there's this comment of hers:
A few days later Neil left a comment apologizing, saying that he suspected one of his "silly kids" must have left those comments. Amused, I responded, "You didn't ask how dared I to put your wife's name on those comments. I guess you knew where they came from as well as I do. What a surprise." He then insisted it was specifically their daughter. (EDIT: His comment and subsequent e-mails originated from the same IP address above.)
Wiley's 13-year-old son? Maybe. Or maybe not.
posted by nasreddin at 8:37 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Item, here* ya go. $40 :)

Can you believe there's online vendors asking nearly $600 for Don Knott's autographed photos? Sure, I adore him too but wtf?

*Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the above linked site, the estate of Don Knotts, Suzanne Somers, Oprah Winfrey, TS Wiley and/or family members, BHRT, or anally inserted potatoes (unskinned, julienned or country-style).
posted by jamaro at 8:38 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"2. Most of you are assholes" - thus spake Burhanistan, master understatement.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 8:38 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


*Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the above linked site, the estate of Don Knotts, Suzanne Somers, Oprah Winfrey, TS Wiley and/or family members, BHRT, or anally inserted potatoes (unskinned, julienned or country-style).

Crinkle-cut?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:39 PM on June 1, 2009


DAMN YOUR INVESTIGATIVE POWERS, Sys Rq!!!
posted by jamaro at 8:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd settle for jakeelala's mom getting us an autograph* from Smilin' Bob, seeing as how they're in the same business and probably schmooze at social functions and all.

*but only if it's signed with a Zeebleflorp pen
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, I believe mashed might work, with an applicator tip.
posted by setanor at 8:43 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Great debv post on some other site.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:44 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, there goes the Twitter account.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:47 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is this the same jakeelala?

Now that I would believe represents the authentic musings of a 13-year-old boy.
posted by chinston at 8:50 PM on June 1, 2009


Jakeelala, while being perfectly calm and pleasant after his/her rough start, gives me nothing but hinky feelings.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 PM on June 1, 2009


At least his livejournal and facebook is still up. Heehee!
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:50 PM on June 1, 2009


The sad part is that a actual doctor said that he had almost everything right. So he was sharing useful information. The identification and mano-a-mano stuff was unfortunate. My wife is on hormone replacement and this thread has made me want to find out exactly what she is taking and get more educated on the subject. Thanks to jakeelala for that.

The identification was not done by someone's postings here (I didn't see them). It comes from jakeelala not being smart enough about the internet/Google to know to use a different username if he didn't want to be easily identified. Most MeFites do know how to use Google. And HE linked to Wiley. I think it would be in jakeelala's best interests to be as forthcoming here, as he is on Twitter.
posted by spock at 8:51 PM on June 1, 2009


Oy gevalt. I saw Jessamyn's deletions early from the thread and thought they were the right choice even with the weirdness here; she's elaborated on that in thread already to the point where I don't have much of anything to add right now on the subject.

I'll agree that this is a weird edgy case, but I'll also reiterate that the outing stuff is pretty something we nix.

jakeelala, you've been throwing a hell of a wrench in that administrative machinery by making so much of your damned-sketchy presence here so far about the very identity you have been refusing to disclose. The colloquial term for that sort of behavior is "bullshit", and you'd be well served by cutting it the fuck out going forward. It's fine to respect and look up to your mom, it's not so fine to use her as some deliberately unidentified aegis in your internet crusades.

As far as all that goes, it'd be great if what further jakeelala-related stuff needs to happen could happen in here. That pretty much includes anything further you might have to say, Jake, because the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too thing you've been pulling over in the blue needs to stop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 PM on June 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


TwelveTwo: Hardly - someone from Wiley Watch just showed up.
posted by odinsdream at 8:53 PM on June 1, 2009


My father actually is a professor of pharmacology, if that's what this is about. Okay, psychopharmacology. Damn it. You got me.

I don't get hinky feelings about Astro Zombie, and he was offering to hook us up with drugs. And now that I see he's an expert-by-osmosis in the field of psychopharmacology, precisely the kinds of drugs that most interest me, I'm really hoping he'll live up to his word.

Whip up some 5-MeOs for us, AZombie!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:55 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


*Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with the above linked site, the estate of Don Knotts, Suzanne Somers, Oprah Winfrey, TS Wiley and/or family members, BHRT, or anally inserted potatoes (unskinned, julienned or country-style).

How about Pringles?
posted by syzygy at 8:55 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


So is jakeelala related to the Wiley quack or not?
posted by xmutex at 8:56 PM on June 1, 2009


Well, you could Google "Neil Raden" and Wiley
posted by spock at 8:59 PM on June 1, 2009


Ah - if you look at what seems to be Neil Raden's twitter feed here, he says, "I want to pull (what's left of) my hair out.My wife discovered this 10 yrs ago and published. http://bit.ly/7snlv It's basis of her therapy". (The link goes to a press release from a web page called Science Daily.

The status on that tweet says 7 hours ago. When was the first time I heard of Science Daily? Oh, yeah - when about 7 hours ago jakeelala posted the same link, saying "Also, specifcally in reference to the fact that Susan is promoting "transdermal" hormone replacement therapy (ie the syringe in her chach), here's a good article about why some people (my mother included) have advocated for many years that transdermal is the only way to replace hormones, not pills or injections."

Truly, the father-son bond in this family must be bio-identical.
posted by chinston at 9:01 PM on June 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


Also, they follow each other on Twitter. (See: This is one reason I don't do Twitter/Facebook/MySpace).
posted by spock at 9:02 PM on June 1, 2009


My wife is on hormone replacement and this thread has made me want to find out exactly what she is taking and get more educated on the subject.

Do so, but please start with non-tendentious sources that draw on research by qualified professionals. I think that Dr. Susan Love's website gives a pretty good overview.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:03 PM on June 1, 2009


Also, check out Neil Raden's Amazon book reviews. (See, this is why I don't do Amazon book reviews with my real name.)
posted by spock at 9:04 PM on June 1, 2009


Well, to be fair, spock, if you did do Twitter/Facebook/MySpace no one would force you to follow them.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:04 PM on June 1, 2009


I adore that cortex stopped jakeelala from playing both sides of the fence.

That thread is really hinky at this point. Would deleting it and allowing a repost be a good idea, as TwelveTwo suggested?
posted by winna at 9:05 PM on June 1, 2009


Thanks for the link, Sidhedevil.
posted by spock at 9:05 PM on June 1, 2009


So, the bottom line on the whole thing is that using hormones, bioidentical or Premarin, is basically like dumping 200 proof alcohol into a crusty old engine that wasn't turning over very well before. You'll get some instant dramatic results but risk blowing a gasket or seal much quicker. At present, research hasn't shown yet just how much alcohol is enough to get the engine going without stressing it. Is that about right?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 PM on June 1, 2009


^meant to post in the original thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:08 PM on June 1, 2009


That thread is really hinky at this point. Would deleting it and allowing a repost be a good idea, as TwelveTwo suggested?

I don't understand goody-two-shoes suggestions like this. The thread ought to stay exactly like it is, there is definite instructive/historical value in it.
posted by jayder at 9:09 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


So, uh, yeah, it seems a cinch that jakeelala is Neil Raden. I'm trying to imagine assuming an internet persona where I get to refer repeatedly to my wife as my mom, but maybe I'll save those issues for my next anonymous AskMe post.
posted by chinston at 9:09 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


So is jakeelala related to the Wiley quack or not?

Googling "ts wiley jake" reveals Wiley giving thanks to her kids, one of them named Jake. The now deleted twitter feed for jakeelala was to someone named Jake Raden, who may or may not be the son of Neil Raden and TS Wiley.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think jakeelala IS the Wiley quack. The son by that name is a University of Chicago grad. Comments written by jakeelala alternate between being knowledgeable about biochemistry and the lower case baby talk in the MeTa thread.
I think Ms Wiley takes on other family members personaes to fight her battles, giving the her an additional blind of a different last name.

Or maybe I'm just sleep deprived, but even with all this outing, there is still something just not right. If this Wiley Protocol is so great, why go to such extremes to prop it up? Is there something illegal going on? Isn't the FDA involved in regulating whether people can be prescribed vast quantities of hormones? This is akin to shooting steroids at some level.
posted by readery at 9:10 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Truly, the father-son bond in this family must be bio-identical.

Debv says she has busted Neal Raden posting under pseudonyms many times. It really seems likely that it was him who has graced us with his presence.
posted by jayder at 9:11 PM on June 1, 2009


And having finally made it through the threads, the additional outside links, and so on… wow. It amazes me that people think they can pull this kind of shit in an internet community and not get caught out.

Douchebags, all.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


think Ms Wiley takes on other family members personaes to fight her battles, giving the her an additional blind of a different last name.

Eh, that doesn't sound right. More likely is that he was reposting emails she was feeding him and doing a spotty job of paraphrasing or using his own words.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 PM on June 1, 2009


That thread is really hinky at this point. Would deleting it and allowing a repost be a good idea, as TwelveTwo suggested?

My suggestion was not what the scientific community would call sincere.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:15 PM on June 1, 2009


That thread is really hinky at this point. Would deleting it and allowing a repost be a good idea, as TwelveTwo suggested?

It's an idea, but not something we've pretty much ever done and I'm not sure I like the idea of doing it in this case either. Mefi has a long informal tradition of letting weird shit stand pretty much as it occurred, and I'm not sure why we'd want to make an exception in this case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:15 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's what I'm trying to say. The tone goes all over the place, Maybe vast quantities of hormones cause multiple personality disorder.
posted by readery at 9:16 PM on June 1, 2009


I don't understand goody-two-shoes suggestions like this. The thread ought to stay exactly like it is, there is definite instructive/historical value in it.

Because as it stands, if you don't read the entire thread there is a huge chunk of it that is an indirect ad for alternative therapies with no proven benefits and considerable risks. That is a bit troubling to me.
posted by winna at 9:16 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


The woman says she can't remember if she got a degree. Is there anything more to be said?
posted by xmutex at 9:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


And having finally made it through the threads, the additional outside links, and so on… wow. It amazes me that people think they can pull this kind of shit in an internet community and not get caught out.

This has been said many times by now, I think, but this harks back so hilariously to the Givewell saga.

It's Givewell2: The Pseudoscience Edition®.
posted by jayder at 9:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


If I had known it was going to go pear-shaped I would have not bothered getting all pissy about asking to get the title of the post changed. The transgressive thrill of peeing in the pool is somewhat overshadowed by someone who eats a box of bran flakes and then takes a massive dump in the shallow end. Talk about overcompensating.
posted by GuyZero at 9:22 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The woman says she can't remember if she got a degree.

Didn't stop her from attending the reunion.
posted by Knappster at 9:26 PM on June 1, 2009


So, apropos of nothing, I was trying to think of a better name for the Harpo folk than "Oprahhites".

Oprahnauts (contributed by my husband)
Opraphiles (which wouldn't apply to those not in the inner-circle)
Harpo-bots
Harpwnd

I think the problem is celebrity and money. I'm sure Oprah has good intentions, but the more detached she gets from regular people, I think the less she understands how crazy it all sounds.

I was really sad to hear about the forced and false cheerfulness.
posted by lysdexic at 9:29 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Didn't stop her from attending the reunion.

"Susie Wiley Raden with Jake Raden"
posted by setanor at 9:31 PM on June 1, 2009


That I don't think is that bad. They're her peers, even if she didn't graduate. We had people at our fifteenth high school reunion who hadn't graduated.

The thing that pinged my what! meter was when jakeelala started talking about a difference between biologically created and industrially created molecules. That is generally a grade-A quack detector. As people said in the thread, if the molecule is identical, then it is identical. For some reason it's big in homeopathy and other alternative medicines to claim that the origin of a molecule makes a difference.
posted by winna at 9:31 PM on June 1, 2009


The link to the D&D forum postings colors the "I know more than you could imagine" post most delightfully.
posted by setanor at 9:35 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


xmutex: The woman says she can't remember if she got a degree. Is there anything more to be said?

If you can remember it you weren't there! Therefore, if you can't remember, you were there.
posted by Kattullus at 9:36 PM on June 1, 2009


And as long as we're patting ourselves on the back...

Metafilter: generally a grade-A quack detector.
posted by palliser at 9:36 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


--The sad part is that a actual doctor said that he had almost everything right. So he was sharing useful information.--

But I think the ultimate aim of the passive-aggressive / anonymous-pseudoexpert shtick is to deposit doubts about the discrediting in scientific literature of bioidentical watchamacallits. To do that successfully requires wrapping the payload in semi-acceptable language. This is the most reprehensible subterfuge to foist on the site. Who was it who said in the last couple of days that it only takes one doubter in a room full of consensus to change a conclusion to a debate (or words to that effect)?? It's not the right metaphor but it's along those lines anyway. The whole web forum bombing is meant to stoke doubt therefore indirectly lending increments of credence to the bs 'science' they peddle. If I was of the ilk that called for retribution or punishments etc I would suggest that jakeelala be banned. [Also: I was most impressed by grouse and shmegegge in the blue thread]
posted by peacay at 9:39 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I sure as hell not sticking up Mr. Bio-identical, but a lot of that thread was really unpleasant, even before the outing. I don't think anybody should be doing a victory dance.

Because when it comes to shilling for dodgy treaments that can harm people, it's more important to be nice than right.

Also, we should vote for George Bush because he's a nice guy you can have a beer with.

I agree that it was wrong, wrong, wrong to out the anonymous poster, but I think it's wrong and dangerous to leave all of these crap ex cathedra assertions, given the number of people who seem to be taking said poster's "credentials" and "knowledge" seriously.

No, no, if someone's nice, the accuracy of their medical advice doesn't matter.
posted by rodgerd at 9:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


The trouble is that it only takes one wrong person in a room of 100 right people to turn a "consensus" into a "debate".
posted by WPW

posted by nola at 9:47 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Debv says she has busted Neal Raden posting under pseudonyms many times. It really seems likely that it was him who has graced us with his presence.

Eh, that doesn't sound right. More likely is that he was reposting emails she was feeding him and doing a spotty job of paraphrasing or using his own words.


Grassy knoll! Grassy knoll!
posted by MikeMc at 9:51 PM on June 1, 2009


Dang, refreshing that post and reloading it all just makes me wish I could just load all the (4 new) comments instead of everything. Do we already have this feature and I don't know about it?
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:53 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is only one Harrods, there is only one PinkSomething

There's actually a little-known Harrods in Buenos Aires, but it's closed. Building is still there but it's sad. OTOH, there is only one PinkSomething.
posted by smackfu at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oprahnauts

WIN.

Tell your husband his commemorative, limited edition, Twinkie scented bar of Soap-On-A-Roprah is on it's way.
posted by MikeMc at 9:55 PM on June 1, 2009


TwelveTwo, if you don't know about Recent Activity already, please allow me to introduce itself.

It's right there up in the header, for future reference.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:56 PM on June 1, 2009


Oh my goodness. It is like everything I would ever want was already thought out ahead of time and implemented, all just for me. Thank you, mister cortex! Glee!
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:58 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Trick My Trick
posted by nola at 10:01 PM on June 1, 2009


1 - I paid to make sure someone who actually has some real life insight into the situation got a voice in.
This is where he started wrong. First he claims some "real life insight" and then he disses our collective intellect on the issue. Nice. Okay.

2 - I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine.
This is where he pushes it further. "Just trust everything I say about this issue, because I have knowledge beyond yours."

Once he starts slinging around fancy science terms, people start asking for something to back up his bullshit. He gives us vagaries about his mother.

There's no statement that I know of in the Metafilter Rules of Conduct guaranteeing anonymity. If the douchebag had gone to Digg, or Reddit, they'd have unearthed the same information and dismissed his opinions as well. (Maybe not as fast, we have great detectives here.) Still, he should have been outed as talking out of his ass, which is what he was doing.
posted by graventy at 10:02 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because as it stands, if you don't read the entire thread there is a huge chunk of it that is an indirect ad for alternative therapies with no proven benefits and considerable risks. That is a bit troubling to me.

...But there are a lot of threads on here which seem to be promoting weird ideas -- if you don't read the whole thread, that is. Those stand. Why is this different?

Personally, I trust the average strength of the average MeFite's bullshit detector.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 PM on June 1, 2009


Because when it comes to shilling for dodgy treaments that can harm people, it's more important to be nice than right.

Well, not being an asshole doesn't equate to being "nice," necessarily. And it's not an either/or situation. I think that when it comes to exposing someone promoting dodgy treatments that can harm people, I just think avoiding being an asshole is an effective strategy. I'm glad people challenged the heinous quackery on that thread, and I'm glad the guy was exposed. I think the people who kept pressing and pressing for more information did a great job. But there was a lot of irrelevant PISS OFF NOOB stuff on the thread, and comments based more on tone of voice than argument, and I think those were distractions.

But look, that was a couple of hours ago. I was feeling sensitive about internet snark. Right now, with all that's come out, I'm actually thinking: Fuck you quack shill scumbag. (But I'm thinking it nicely.)
posted by neroli at 10:09 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, I'd like to express my displeasure at removing Astro Zombie's double-posted comment. It makes my comment confusing.

I'm not THAT displeased. For some reason it's still getting favorites.
posted by graventy at 10:12 PM on June 1, 2009


1. sorry to break up your conspiracy.
2. you keep looking for some sort of evil, conniving plot. there isn't one.

no, no, clearly not
posted by setanor at 10:14 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


graventy: Still, he should have been outed as talking out of his ass, which is what he was doing.

Hadn't the assness out of which s/he was talking been pretty well established, irrespective of his/her identity. I'm pretty certain that I read a pretty thorough takedown of this kind of nonsense in Skeptical Inquirer some years ago but since I can't find the article online here's another similar one from Skeptic Magazine. Here's a sample quote:
Suzanne Somers and others keep harping about “balancing” your hormones. I have difficulty understanding this concept. Hormones are complicated. There are lots of different estrogens; estrogen levels are higher early in the monthly cycle and progesterone peaks later in the cycle: if you graph them, you see that each follows a curve, and the ratio between estrogens and progesterone is constantly changing from day to day and hour to hour. So what can the bioidentical advocates mean when they say they are “balancing” your hormones?

I finally realized that they don’t have any idea what they’re “balancing.” When they do lab tests, they use salivary levels, which they think are more reliable (most endocrinologists disagree). Since they know the test only reflects one instant in time, they feel free to disregard it except as a rough starting point. Instead, they have the patient report any symptoms such as insomnia, dry skin, or lack of energy, interpret those symptoms as signs of unbalanced hormones, and adjust the dosage.
Yeah... it takes only one person in a hundred to create a debate but that one person rarely convinces anyone. My problem isn't with Wiley or her family, cranks have always been a part of humanity and always will be. The real damage is done by those in the media who trumpet her claims. Fuck those shits.
posted by Kattullus at 10:17 PM on June 1, 2009


There's actually a little-known Harrods in Buenos Aires, but it's closed.

It did get mentioned in a lyric in "Evita", though.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:26 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The link to the D&D forum postings colors the "I know more than you could imagine" post most delightfully.

I put on my robe and wizdoctor hat...
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:26 PM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


As my dad's an engineer, I can claim with some authority that this thing has been one fun train wreck.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:27 PM on June 1, 2009 [21 favorites]


I once ran into Walter Mondale at an airport and he even shook my hand, so I'll thank you all to defer to my knowledge of politics and Minnesota. Also, palladins are the Wesley Crushers of D&D. Please make a note of that for future reference. You're welcome.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:35 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


One thing's for sure. I am going to preface every one of my future AskMe answers with "I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine..."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:37 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


And the people at Newsweek responsible for this drivel actually wrote their own menopause book and shill their own products. They try at every turn to debase bio-identical / anti-aging approaches that differ from their own. It's like letting Chevron write a piece under the guise of Newsweek debunking global warming.

You're not all as well informed as the people informing you would have you believe. That's all I'm saying.


IRONY METER BROKEN
IRONY METER BROKEN
IRONY METER BROKEN
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:39 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


...But there are a lot of threads on here which seem to be promoting weird ideas -- if you don't read the whole thread, that is. Those stand. Why is this different?

Personally, I trust the average strength of the average MeFite's bullshit detector.


cortex came through and said the thread remains as is, and that is good enough for me. But it just feels off to have that kind of shilling stand in a thread. I suppose because there were people adamantly defending the guy through the thread as if he were the victim of some great conspiracy and he started trying to game the rules to have it both ways - the anonymity AND the mantle of authority.

I'm sure that you and jaydar are right - in a week claiming one's mother as an authority on something will be a byword and no one will be fooled.
posted by winna at 10:41 PM on June 1, 2009


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


IRONY METER BROKEN

Oh, come on now. jakeelala can be both a shill (or quasi-shill as it seems here) for unproven treatments and correct about about Newsweek being beholden to pharmaceutical companies. People can be wrong and right in the same breath.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just piping in to second whoever said upthread that if *anyone* thinking about going to medical school or getting into residency, (or if you're a family member of friend writing in their name) it would really, really help if they covered their internet tracks leading to any hinky photos or statements.

I grow increasingly chagrined by how many people in admissions - for example, students are often part of the interviewing process - increasingly take a googling glance and judge, judge, judge accordingly. Not saying it's right, or that everyone does it, or that it has anything to do with your ability to be a doctor, but you just never know.

Let it be about your test scores and thoughtful personal statement, not that fun party photo of you grinning thumbs-up in blackface or theoretical musings on any topic where you misrepresent, overstate, lie, abuse, threaten or do anything where the school/program will be in a situation where it will have a patient that will google you (cause patients do) and say, "Wha???? Oh, HELL no..."

/end friendly gentle reminder
posted by anitanita at 10:47 PM on June 1, 2009


I saw this post in the morning, came back tonight and decided to enjoy some Oprah-bashing, saw the number of comments, and thought Wow - you guys really hate Oprah.
posted by bibliowench at 10:53 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain preserved for eternity by a topical ointment.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:57 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


i've never posted on the internet about this before. jakeelala is a handle i use for internet forums, but this is not something i've ever discussed before. sorry to break up your conspiracy. i did grow up for the last 13 years hearing about this every day.

Oh God. Jakeelala is here. JAKEELALA IS HEEERE!

I will remember this night like no other. Except givewell. And I loved that night.
posted by humannaire at 10:57 PM on June 1, 2009


Arthur Kade really got overshadowed today. Bunx for him.
posted by fuq at 10:58 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


preserved for eternity by a topical ointment

Containing pharmaceutical-grade sand.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:58 PM on June 1, 2009


Oh, come on now. jakeelala can be both a shill (or quasi-shill as it seems here) for unproven treatments and correct about about Newsweek being beholden to pharmaceutical companies. People can be wrong and right in the same breath.

The "You're all being misled by people with a hidden axe to grind" seems pretty damn ironic to me in this context, but YMMV.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:00 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


And flies. Not synthetic flies, mind you. Bio-identical sand flies. In the ointment. For eternity!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:02 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mother, do you think they'll grind their axe?
Mother, do you think they'll check the facts?
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?
Ooooowaa mother, should I just stonewall?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:06 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Ok, there is some subtextual irony there. It would break my admittedly already warped irony meter if jakeelala never claimed proximity to hormone therapy but instead insisted upon outsider status. As such, the whole thing reads like he is just a young fool and not helping his mother's cause.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:07 PM on June 1, 2009


Wow - you guys really hate Oprah

what's her user number and how many favorites does she have?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:08 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll never forgive Oprah for ruining Dave Chapelle.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:09 PM on June 1, 2009


Well, there goes the Twitter account.

Awesome. At first I was afraid jakeelala was just sloppy and lazy and didn't care if we outed him. Nice to see the sucker on the run.
posted by ryanrs at 11:13 PM on June 1, 2009


Oh God, it's after 2AM! How am I going to explain this to all my friends tomorrow?

I know, I'll just tell them I was up late watching internet p'orn!*

*popcorn, get it?
posted by humannaire at 11:23 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


jakeelala:

I think if you had stated your affiliation up front, or admitted that you had a vested interest, rather then not only claiming to be unbiased, but also having some authority, your comments would have been taken a lot better.

Also, it's a bit ridiculous to criticize pharmaceutical companies when you ignore your own financial motivations.
The thing that pinged my what! meter was when jakeelala started talking about a difference between biologically created and industrially created molecules. That is generally a grade-A quack detector.
No, he was saying the opposite. That 'the molecule is the molecule' and not "synthetic" even if it was the result of a chemical process to turn plant hormones into human ones. He was pretty explicit about this. He had several comments saying that the bio-identical hormones were "natural" and not "synthetic" specifically because the molecules were exactly the same.
posted by delmoi at 11:37 PM on June 1, 2009


wait, Sys Rq is gay?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:41 PM on June 1, 2009


I think it's a shame jakeelala took that approach.

The idea that timed hormones will be more effective makes good common sense to me: our hormonal systems are a significant communications system for our bodies and they certainly do ebb and flow. I think there should have been an interesting discussion about whether there's validity to that idea².

Instead we got diverted into discussion about HRT vs BHRT. A discussion that likely exists only so that Protocol® can claim distinction from what a well-informed physician would offer: a cyclic hormonal program.

When I want to listen to songs about the special uniqueness of Lydia E. Pinkham's Patented Protocol® Vegetable Compound, I'll tune in The Shopping Network. Not a thread with guests sponsored by Oprah.

¹like Noah's Ark, MetaFilter has at least two bona-fide experts for any given speciality subject, there's just that many of us.
²is there?

posted by five fresh fish at 11:42 PM on June 1, 2009


I think there should have been an interesting discussion about whether there's validity to that idea².

I don't think that there was much dispute about whether or not hormones actually generate visible results. The dispute (what little there was beyond the jakeelala identity fracas) was if bio-identicals were deemed less harmful than Premarin, and if there was any real evidence about the long term viability of undergoing any kind of hormone treatment.

The 20/20 pieced linked in the thread almost goes so far as to suggest that Somers' breast cancer could have been causally linked to her hormone usage. The whole discussion really needs to be reset without dopey jakeelala, but as it stands now there's been enough information provided for people to have a look on their own.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 PM on June 1, 2009


posted by Blazecock Pileon All those moments will be lost in time . . . like estrogen in Suzanne Somers' vagina.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:51 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


For T.S. Wiley, Jakeelala, & Co., on the Occasion of their First MeTa Callout:

Let us go then, you and us,
When the thread grows long and dusty as a Trailways bus.
Like a starlet botoxed up and selling cooch-cream:
Let us go now, through deserts of the Western states;
The Acme crates;
Which once held inventions, gears, and scientific wonder;
That couldn’t catch Roadrunner;
But merely lead you to an overwhelming question:
Oh do not ask “What’s up doc?”
Let us go and halt that age-clock.



Apologies to T.S. Eliot, Chuck Jones, and, well, pretty much everyone.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:54 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Not dispute about whether hormone treatment can work. Is there research about whether cycling the hormones is more effective than steady-state treatment?

What bugs me is that because I don't know enough to be able to ascertain that confidently by myself, I'm inclined to want to hear what jakeelala says. No wonder people get hoodwinked.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:14 AM on June 2, 2009


@anitanita
Just piping in to second whoever said upthread that if *anyone* thinking about going to medical school or getting into residency, (or if you're a family member of friend writing in their name) it would really, really help if they covered their internet tracks leading to any hinky photos or statements.
Agreed - even more so as it seems likely that Jakeelala's future credibility is being impuned by his own father. Like when he was rumbled for posting abusive anonymous comments on a blog that was critical of the 'Wiley Protocol'. In that situation he blamed his daughter (post#108) for posting the comments when he was confronted with the evidence (the anon's IP happened to match the IP in an email sent to the blog owner by jakeelala sr. not three minutes later) .

Nice going pops.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 12:14 AM on June 2, 2009


I've got my syringe all loaded up, but, as, technically, a man, I'm confused where I should insert it.

Also, I seem to be suffering from a prolapsed potato.
posted by maxwelton at 12:18 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Will you people QUIT IT ALREADY with the @ signs. WTF? That's three I've seen in the past hour. Where the hell did all these Twitter crackheads come from?
posted by five fresh fish at 12:24 AM on June 2, 2009 [14 favorites]


Probably Twitter.
posted by item at 12:25 AM on June 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


I love how the husband keeps blaming these things on his kids. It's so ridiculously cowardly. Neal—when your son finds out about this, I hope he kicks your ass.
posted by ryanrs at 12:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


So th@s where it came from. Sorry fff. I just thought it was convention.

PS. I don't twitter. I ramble too much, besides IMHO Twitterers === tw@s
posted by JustAsItSounds at 12:38 AM on June 2, 2009


Wow. After all the hullabaloo in the autism-vaccine threads, who knew HRT would be where the science/pseudoscience battle would truly turn epic?
posted by blenderfish at 1:00 AM on June 2, 2009


Opraphiles
Seems fitting; they do seem to love all manner of weird shit.
posted by Abiezer at 1:07 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


like Noah's Ark, MetaFilter has at least two bona-fide experts for any given speciality subject, there's just that many of us.

When do we get to mate with our corresponding fellow experts to repopulate the earth?
posted by little e at 1:13 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]

I think if you had stated your affiliation up front, or admitted that you had a vested interest, rather then not only claiming to be unbiased, but also having some authority, your comments would have been taken a lot better.
Yeah, this. For example, a comment of the form “I registered an account just to respond to this post. I'm related to one of the big proponents of bioidentical HRT, and the reason we think it's better is…” would almost certainly have been well received by mefites. Direct, simultaneously lays out the claim for authority and the admission of bias, hopefully proceeds on to talk facts.
posted by hattifattener at 1:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


@lysdexic

I like Oprahnauts most of all. I'm picturing a group of people floating in space, wearing big Oprah shaped helmets, little asteroids revolving around a giant floating Jenny McCarthy head.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:42 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


@Marisa etc

how about Cosmonauts? they mostly float about in space, making racist remarks about hecklers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


#condomfish @Ubu

Cosmonautary began and ended with Yuri Gagarin, and I'll be damned if I'm expanding it to include Oprah fans.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:58 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


@o@ ... you want me to put a syringe where???
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:03 AM on June 2, 2009


#cephalophylaxis @Marisaetc

Cosmonautary began and ended with Laika, and I'll be damned if I'm expanding it to include Yuri Gagarin.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:04 AM on June 2, 2009


Damn it, but what about Laika and the Cosmonauts?
posted by dunkadunc at 4:24 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


since when did the "and the" mob rate up alongside the leader?

the bunnymen, for example, would be nothing without echo.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:31 AM on June 2, 2009


Well, that was a headspin. As I progressed through the thread I though some people were being quite harshly fixated on the question: "where is the peer-reviewed research", because "We're doing it - and it takes longer than a week, month or year to research, write up, get reviewed and finally published" seemed an OK response for someone who isn't selling themselves specifically as an expert. Bits of studies don't pop up each month like parts of a Charles Dickens novel, after all. And I certainly wouldn't want to expose my parent's work to ridicule because of my poor understanding of the finer details of their research.

Then I saw Grouse's link and realised I hadn't actually thought that through terribly well. Stupid underdogs, making me feel sorry for them, with their little puppy eyes and their infectious rabies.
posted by Sparx at 4:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Question for the mods: why was identifying jakeelala not ok, when identifying Holden Karnofsky was ok? (As I recall, anyway, there wasn't this much brouhaha about breaking the rules on that one.)
posted by naoko at 4:50 AM on June 2, 2009


I am always amused by quack medicine boosters who can't spell or write for shit and want us to believe they are highly educated.

Yeah, sure jakelala is going to medical school. On what planet?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:55 AM on June 2, 2009


Or, as jakelala puts it, "ce la vie."
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:01 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


maybe it's a very clever & esoteric pun in french. is your french up to the task of unravelling the intricacies of her cleverness?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:12 AM on June 2, 2009


(just playing devils abdicate)
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:18 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've got a headline for you: French Fries.
posted by box at 5:23 AM on June 2, 2009


"Visions and revisions which a minute will reverse..."

Oh, the thread got reposted? Awesome!
posted by puckish at 5:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll agree that this is a weird edgy case, but I'll also reiterate that the outing stuff is pretty something we nix.

No offense to Sys Rq, but the sleuthing here is pretty amateur compared to the golden years of outing the likes of Kaycee Nicole or Holden Karnofsky. Those involved some real digging, whereas this was more a matter of a quick google search.

jakeelala publically connects himself with his username in many other places on the web. I see why the jessamyn and cortex responded quickly and brutally in quelling the outing, but I hope in retrospect that they'd agree that Jake is and always has been 'out' for the purposes of internet anonymity. There's no reason to continue to suppress explicit mention of his identity here.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:23 AM on June 2, 2009


...who can't spell or write for shit and want us to believe they are highly educated.

I've met many, many highly-educated (or credentialed) people who can't spell, type, or write particularly well, including doctors, lawyers, and scientists. In fact, more surprising to me was when I got introduced to the world of editing and saw how bad the problem is among accomplished authors, for whom I'd have thought the difference between "it's" and "its" would be like discerning between slotted and Phillips-head screwdrivers.

So the fact that somebody can't type well online doesn't necessarily mean to me that they aren't intelligent and accomplished. It's just an ability that not everybody has.
posted by cribcage at 5:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


For example, a comment of the form “I registered an account just to respond to this post. I'm related to one of the big proponents of bioidentical HRT, and the reason we think it's better is…” would almost certainly have been well received by mefites.

Better received, I suppose.

He wouldn't have been burned to charcoal. But I still think he would have gotten a nice crisping.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2009


jakeelala publically connects himself with his username in many other places on the web. I see why the jessamyn and cortex responded quickly and brutally in quelling the outing, but I hope in retrospect that they'd agree that Jake is and always has been 'out' for the purposes of internet anonymity. There's no reason to continue to suppress explicit mention of his identity here

That is if Jake is Jake. I think there is a legitimate question which family member this is.
I do a kind of financial sleuthing IRL and am no longer suprised at what parents will do in their child's name (even adult child's).
posted by readery at 5:53 AM on June 2, 2009


Dear jakeelala, are you willing,
to go metafilter shilling?
said jakeelala, 'I will'
So the very next day,
Five dollars did pay,
From the paypal account account of the shill,
We dined on popcorn,
And vaginally applied hormones
And we sang to a small guitar,
"Oh lovely HRT, oh HRT that I love,
What a very young pussy Suzanne Somers has, she has,
What a beautiful pussy she has."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:59 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Once you start saying "it's okay as long as the person is really bad" you wind up in a situation where you have to make a judgment call about how "really bad" someone has to be for it to be okay for them to be outed.

I can live with that, but it doesn't get much worse than lying about academic and scientific credentials to sell a potentially dangerous product.

I thought I had my head wrapped around this, but now it appears that the husband is posting as his 13 year old son. Wow!
posted by diogenes at 6:00 AM on June 2, 2009


Mm. That whole thread (post? whatevs) further cements my belief that mefi is the very last place one ought to engage in shady internets tomfoolery. When you're finally caught out, 4chan/anonymous simply destroys what's left of your soul; mefi will destroy what's left of your credibility.

Each bout of mefi's collective internets detective work leads me to imagine a lot of you in spandex and capes. I am aware that this may, in turn, lead you to imagine that I am a pervy weirdo. I'm mostly ok with that.
posted by elizardbits at 6:08 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Question for the mods: why was identifying jakeelala not ok, when identifying Holden Karnofsky was ok? (As I recall, anyway, there wasn't this much brouhaha about breaking the rules on that one.)

The Karnofsky/Givewell thing exploded as soon as the ID was made, and it wasn't going back in the bag. If things had gone a bit differently (e.g. Holden having the canniness to not try and bluff off Miko in the thread, Miko dropping us a line instead of saying something in askme about her suspicions), it might well have been something we contained to a ban and a "don't fuck with our site" and nothing more, however much as the thought of such an alternate universe might horrify people.

But the Givewell thing played out the way it did, and Holden sort of jumped in early to ride the tiger himself, mooting the question. And it was super clear what was going on in that case pretty early on, too; in this case, if we had twigged to the depth of the weirdness of the episode when we first saw the outing stuff (rather than initially just seeing, you know, a bunch of outing and cleaning it up) we probably would have pursued the whole thing a little more aggressively by dropping jakeelala a line directly.

Suffice it to say that however much I may be glad that Givewell's dirty laundry got a good airing, I remain conflicted about how that situation played out on site. I have the same sense of conflict about this one. It's not because I don't think there's ridiculous crap being pulled, because in both cases I do; it's because, crazy bullshit or not, this isn't a place that I like to see slip past the line of diligence and bullshit-calling into the weirder realm of internet vigilantism, and anything that starts sidling toward that line gives me pause.

That's not a particularly clean and straightforward answer to the question. I don't have one; this is weird, swampy territory, and always will be.

I see why the jessamyn and cortex responded quickly and brutally in quelling the outing, but I hope in retrospect that they'd agree that Jake is and always has been 'out' for the purposes of internet anonymity. There's no reason to continue to suppress explicit mention of his identity here.

In practice, I agree with you: he's out there, and the idea that we in particular can make him safe from identification by googlers is silly. I've said as much to him in email as well; his not-quite-anonymity is a problem that goes far, far beyond metafilter and it's his problem to deal with, not ours.

That said, we also have no specific need to go down that route on metafilter, either. At this point there is more than enough stuff that makes it damned easy to get to the following of breadcrumbs for anyone who wants to.

And in this case these seem to be breadcrumbs leading not to e.g. a hedgefunder/philanthropist Boss Hog playing dirty pool with charity but rather just to some kid who was stupid enough to get in waaaay in over his head trying to defend his mom. Chasing him around when he doesn't (aside from fucking around in our neighborhood, and yes, I know that adds a certain frisson/sting to the proceedings) appear to be one of the principally troublesome figures in the equation feels pretty unnecessary to me, as does going so far as to specifically condone wandering away from the general principles we try to follow around here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought I had my head wrapped around this, but now it appears that the husband is posting as his 13 year old son. Wow!

To be clear: what I've seen suggests Jake is indeed Jake. That's not to say it's impossible that Neil is going the elaborate extra mile on this (in which case, wow, what tremendous assholery that would be, pops), but I haven't seen anything that clearly suggests it, debv's scooby sense notwithstanding, and a couple things that make it seem less likely barring considerable subterfuge.

I don't really want the "it's actually his dad!" meme to get some implicit stamp of administrative approval, basically. Given the context, yes, I'm not certain, but I really doubt it in this case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:20 AM on June 2, 2009


I don't really want the "it's actually his dad!" meme to get some implicit stamp of administrative approval, basically.

Yeah, but you have to admit that pretending to be a silly kid would be a great way to get people to react less strongly if you're caught. Going the elaborate extra mile is par for the course with people like this. I'll drop it though, because I really don't know if it's true or not.
posted by diogenes at 6:23 AM on June 2, 2009


At times like this, the hive mind reminds me of the Eye of Sauron (in a good way).
posted by diogenes at 6:24 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, no, it's definitely weird, uneasy territory.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:25 AM on June 2, 2009


I'm a real human being. I don't do what my mothers does. I want to because she's brilliant and helping lots of people. so now im going to med school so i will never have to struggle like she does because she didn't have the advantage of getting to go to medical school, and came late in life to her passion.
you keep looking for some sort of evil, conniving plot. there isn't one.
posted by jakeelala at 8:02 PM on June


Maybe there's not an evil plot, but your mom or wife or you or whatever relation you're claiming now is a con artist and a quack, and you've repeatedly lied about your motives, your conflict of interest, and your connection to this industry. It's doubly-damning that you accused other researchers of deception before you got caught.

so now im going to med school so i will never have to struggle like she does because she didn't have the advantage of getting to go to medical school, and came late in life to her passion.

Please. There are multiple people who have attended and graduated from med school in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s. And the (literally) pathetic way in which you plead for special treatment with that quoted sentence is manipulative and gross and, apparently, typical of the way your family does business.

You should be ashamed. But I don't think that your kind is capable of feeling shame.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:30 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


no longer suprised at what parents will do in their child's name (even adult child's).

I think the speculation on father/son pseudonyms are unwarranted. Unlike Jake, Neil would have done a better (i.e. more sophisticated) job either hiding his identity or using it to his advantage. Jake's contribution screams inexperience with astroturfing and the internet in general.

Chasing him around when he doesn't... appear to be one of the principally troublesome figures in the equation feels pretty unnecessary to me, as does going so far as to specifically condone wandering away from the general principles we try to follow around here.

I'm with you on the whole "don't be a dick to protective offspring" thing, cortex. The kid deserves kid-gloves: no one should have to learn all about the internet's vindictive side while wading into a thread attacking his mom.

I was just trying to clear up the whole outing/anonymity thing: that it's not really an edge case, but that your snap judgments were nonetheless sound as a matter of policy. Just a kind of after-action report: all systems normal, everything worked as it should. I think the Scooby Squad can and do go overboard sometimes, but Sys Rq and the others were well within bounds, yet so was jessamyn in her initial deletions.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:33 AM on June 2, 2009


It occurs to me: are kid gloves special gentle gloves, or are they made of kids, i.e. baby goats? I'm not advocating skinning anybody.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:35 AM on June 2, 2009


Question for the mods: why was identifying jakeelala not ok, when identifying Holden Karnofsky was ok?

Indeed. Especially as, despicable as he is, at least Mr. Karnofsky wasn't peddling quack medicine. Quacks cost lives and deserve all the shame you can heap onto them.
posted by Skeptic at 6:36 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


No offense to Sys Rq, but the sleuthing here is pretty amateur compared to the golden years of outing the likes of Kaycee Nicole or Holden Karnofsky.

Oh, none taken. You're absolutely right: it was pretty fricken obvious. It literally took about thirty seconds. To be honest, I'm surprised no one picked up on it sooner.

And I'd like to clarify my motives. I had no intention of vigilanteism or anything like that (I mean, ffs, it's Suzanne Somers hormone cream--if you don't already know it's crazy, I frankly don't have much sympathy). I only wanted to point out difinitively that a) the second-hand credentials that the user claimed to have were questionable at the very least, and b) there was not just a bias but an actual vested interest in the subject.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:37 AM on June 2, 2009


The kid deserves kid-gloves: no one should have to learn all about the internet's vindictive side while wading into a thread attacking his mom.

Huh? You're way off. Nobody was attacking his mom until he inserted her into the discussion. And I disagree that he deserves kid-gloves. He's making dangerous claims and backing them up with lies.
posted by diogenes at 6:39 AM on June 2, 2009


The kid deserves kid-gloves: no one should have to learn all about the internet's vindictive side while wading into a thread attacking his mom.

He was the one who brought up his mother as an expert, remember? No one knew or cared about his dumbass family until he registered on the site and started promoting them.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:45 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Kid gloves are special gentle gloves made from baby goats. Straight Dope has a little more.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:46 AM on June 2, 2009


That deserves a double blink tag, I think.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:51 AM on June 2, 2009


The kid deserves kid-gloves: no one should have to learn all about the internet's vindictive side while wading into a thread attacking his mom.

FWIW, the "kid" is roughly my age, and can grow a better five-o'clock shadow.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


So he's not 13?
posted by diogenes at 6:57 AM on June 2, 2009


He has a LinkedIn account and a real job and everything.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:58 AM on June 2, 2009


Here's the line that catches my eye and makes me feel sorry for him:

"Just because Suzanna Somers likes something and promotes it, doesn't mean the people responsible for it are crazy or doing something wrong."

So Jake sees Somers as a poor representative of his mother, as a crazy person who is discrediting his mother's work. That's why I think it was filial duty driving him to act, not shilling so much as 'lay off my mom's work!'

It turns out that Somers isn't the only or even the best reason to judge Wiley a quack, but Jake can't know that. Someone in that thread was talking about familial expertise rubbing off at the dinner table, but this is the much more common flip side: familial delusions-masquerading-as-expertise rub off at the dinner table too! How's a kid to know the difference when they've been fed well-meaning lies with their mother's milk? I think such unfortunates deserve pity, not vitriol.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:59 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Seriously, how hard is it to work teh googlz?)
posted by Sys Rq at 6:59 AM on June 2, 2009


He's 27.
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was wondering where that 13 thing was coming from. Presumably, this:

...i did grow up for the last 13 years hearing about this every day.

Which I think is more about the span of the whatever the hell stuff being peddled than the span of Jake's life. He's a grownup with a job as far as what's out there suggests.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:01 AM on June 2, 2009


Re: kid gloves... Somehow I always thought they were the special soft gloves you used to handle newborn goats and also other delicate things. Learning the truth, I feel sort of dirty, kind of like when you realize that a cheeseburger is cow covered in curdled cow milk.

but oh so yummy
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:02 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I also question how much of a kid he is, frankly. I mean, yes, we have the statement upthread that he did "grow up for the last 13 years hearing about this every day," but that doesn't necessarily mean he's actually 13 years old. I'm not sure when Wiley started her quixotic journey into quackdom, but it's entirely possible that Jake could've been two or seven or fifteen when she did.

Furthermore, there's this from the other thread:

i've actually learned so much i've decided to go back to school to med school... i have a few pre-reqs I never took and the MCATs to study for. im starting a little later than most, but it will be fine. if anything i'll be better prepared for it. (emphasis mine)

Starting "a little later than most" in prepping for your MCATS does not strike me as the territory of a 13 year old, unless jakeelala is a sockpuppet for a real-life Doogie Howser.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:03 AM on June 2, 2009


some kid who was stupid enough to get in waaaay in over his head trying to defend his mom.

I followed the google trail and came to about the same conclusion. He's not at all new to online communities and seems to get along fine elsewhere. It's a shame that instead of entering our community to share his story -- and despite the science fighty-ness he does have a compelling story as someone close to a 'figure' in the field -- he chose to present a bad faith image of himself as authority, expert, apologist, etc. Being at once aggressively partisan and cryptic about his motivations and identity, he was inviting scrutiny. Aside from the somewhat pathetic posturing, which has already gone through the mill a few times, there's no reason for a pile-on.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:03 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If there's ever an angry mob forming, please just go sit down.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:06 AM on June 2, 2009


unless jakeelala is a sockpuppet for a real-life Doogie Howser.

Neil Raden -> Neil Patrick Harris -> Patrick and Teresa Neilsen Hayden -> disemvowelment -> jakeelala -> JKLL -> Jekyll -> Hyde -> hide -> leather -> kid gloves.

WE'VE CRACKED THE DAVINCI CODE!

posted by cortex (staff) at 7:08 AM on June 2, 2009 [28 favorites]


I did grow up for the last 13 years hearing about this every day.

I'm starting to suspect that this was a slip and the father is actually pretending to be the brother pretending to be... an even younger brother! *Cue scary music*
posted by diogenes at 7:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well played, cortex. Well played indeed.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:11 AM on June 2, 2009


Posts with capitalization = Neil. Posts without = Jake. That is my theory.
posted by palliser at 7:12 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kid gloves are made from, not for, kids.
posted by mkb at 7:13 AM on June 2, 2009


palliser, he made several references to posting several messages via iphone on a shuttle- upper case on an iphone is a little annoying, so I suspect that this explains the stylistic discrepancy.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:16 AM on June 2, 2009


His mom has a basement where the family eats dinner.
posted by Sailormom at 7:22 AM on June 2, 2009


cortex: Suffice it to say that however much I may be glad that Givewell's dirty laundry got a good airing, I remain conflicted about how that situation played out on site. I have the same sense of conflict about this one. It's not because I don't think there's ridiculous crap being pulled, because in both cases I do; it's because, crazy bullshit or not, this isn't a place that I like to see slip past the line of diligence and bullshit-calling into the weirder realm of internet vigilantism, and anything that starts sidling toward that line gives me pause.

Yeah. Doubleplusyeah.

The GiveWell crew was a shady bunch, but the GiveWell thread veered off into crazy badness. It's weird to me to see internet communities get all jingoistic. Holden Karnofsky wasn't our enemy and neither is the Wiley family (cartoon bad guy name notwithstanding). Bringing information to light is good, hounding people isn't. It's a shifty, fuzzy line but it's important to try not to cross it.
posted by Kattullus at 7:26 AM on June 2, 2009


My daughter! My sister! My daughter! My sister!
posted by klangklangston at 7:29 AM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


He seems like a decent guy himself, honestly. It's not his fault his family is sightly kookoo-bananas obsessive-crusadey, with the added stigma of a newfound association to the ThighMaster. It's a weird position to be in.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:36 AM on June 2, 2009


Can I also just say that although I've never subscribed to the whole "Metafilter is a boyzone" argument before, that thread really made me cringe?

I can't count how many of you gleefully went on and on about vaginas, and most of you didn't even have the maturity to even call it what it is. Seriously, "chach" and "cooter"?!

I wouldn't be surprised if all of you got outed as 13 year-old boys, frankly.
posted by misha at 7:50 AM on June 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


It's not just the capitalization, it's the difference in tone. He goes from "I'm just trying to get the information out there, friends" to standard internet snark "you moron, if i told you to jump off a bridge, you'd do it."

Do you know a 27-year-old who uses the word "drivel"? That is a 50-year-old dude's word. And Neil Radin used it multiple places (I can't find all the in-thread links, maybe they've been deleted?) to describe the Newsweek article.
posted by palliser at 7:50 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is why I think we should have a "This thread is also discussed in Metatalk" at the TOP of the thread, so that people can get a heads up that there is more to discuss, go straight to the problem and get the whole story.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:52 AM on June 2, 2009 [20 favorites]


Can I also just say that although I've never subscribed to the whole "Metafilter is a boyzone" argument before, that thread really made me cringe?

Ditto.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:54 AM on June 2, 2009


If a MeFi or AskMe thread has over 400 comments, chances are there's a MetaTalk thread on it, iamkimiam.
posted by amro at 7:55 AM on June 2, 2009


Do you know a 27-year-old who uses the word "drivel"? That is a 50-year-old dude's word.

THAT is drivel. He's 27, not 7.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:57 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bringing information to light is good, hounding people isn't.

They had a chance to present themselves honestly. They blew that to hell and don't appear to be contrite about it, in the slightest. Fuck'em.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2009


Do you know a 27-year-old who uses the word "drivel"?

The word "drivel" isn't as precious as you might think. This is silly to go around presuming OMG CONSPIRACY. jakeelala screwed up, end of story.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 AM on June 2, 2009


So yesterday I decided to watch a bunch of movies with my wife, and catch up on some cleaning and organizing I had been putting off. You know, the stuff that we are "supposed to do" instead of hang out online.

And this happened.

Super fair.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you know a 27-year-old who uses the word "drivel"? That is a 50-year-old dude's word.

Hey, drivel is a great word. And I would bet it's one that's made the rounds at that figurative dinner table a fair amount.

And I was 28 at the time, so hey.

I'm pretty sure I looked up "contumelious", though.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:01 AM on June 2, 2009


Please. Not because it's a "hard" word. It's a 50-year-old dude's word in the same way "fabulous" marks you as a woman over 40.
posted by palliser at 8:04 AM on June 2, 2009


Also, cortex, you were clearly making a joke of being pretentious in that link. Pretty much my point
posted by palliser at 8:06 AM on June 2, 2009


Can I also just say that although I've never subscribed to the whole "Metafilter is a boyzone" argument before, that thread really made me cringe?

I can't count how many of you gleefully went on and on about vaginas, and most of you didn't even have the maturity to even call it what it is. Seriously, "chach" and "cooter"?!

I wouldn't be surprised if all of you got outed as 13 year-old boys, frankly.
posted by misha at 7:50 AM on June 2


The only person to use the word "chach" was jakeelala, the subject of this thread, a 27 year-old dude (or his father) who has much bigger problems than his word choice. He registered yesterday, is a liar, and is in no way representative of MeFi.

The first person to use "cooter" was jokeefe, an adult woman who is a) well-regarded and well-respected and who was b) clearly joking. All other uses of cooter derive from her post or are direct quotes.

I agree that MetaFilter has problems with sexism, but your examples are the possibly the worst, least-compelling examples on the entire site.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [18 favorites]


Being pretentious != being 50, and "woman over 40" is not the first category that I think of "fabulous" as a marker for, but more to the point it's not a definitive marker for any particular category.

Detective work is fun and I can understand the instinct to speculate, but trying to leverage an ID off a specific and honestly really questionable vocab observation probably isn't worth pursuing in this case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:10 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't count how many of you gleefully went on and on about vaginas, and most of you didn't even have the maturity to even call it what it is. Seriously, "chach" and "cooter"?!

Well, I'm not going to defend "cooter," but I will point out that "chach" was first used in that thread by jakeelala, and all other instances appear to be people quoting him. So don't blame that one on the regulars.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2009


I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine.

Does that line remind anyone else of this?

Maybe it's just me and my unnatural fondness for internet memes.
posted by aldurtregi at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a 50-year-old dude's word in the same way "fabulous" marks you as a woman over 40.

I'm a 50-year-old man and a 40-year old woman, all at the same time :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


(Oops, didn't preview, OC already covered it. Carry on.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:13 AM on June 2, 2009


misha: " I can't count how many of you gleefully went on and on about vaginas, and most of you didn't even have the maturity to even call it what it is. Seriously, "chach" and "cooter"?! "

As a serial vagina referencer - though always according it the dignity of its proper name - I'm not sure if that would have played out any differently had it been, say, Warren Beatty administering his miracle youth elixir as a rectal suppository.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:19 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Being pretentious != being 50

Whoa whoa whoa. If I say "when Americans say 'my flat' instead of 'my apartment,' it sounds pretentious," that does not mean all British people are pretentious. Similarly, if I say, "you used a word more typically used by much older people in order to sound pretentious," that does not mean older people are pretentious.

A brick does not make a wall, but I still think "drivel" is a piece of evidence that an older person was commenting there. And now I'm leaving to hang out with my age-sex-class cohort and our 100 acceptable vocabulary words.
posted by palliser at 8:21 AM on June 2, 2009


Warren Beatty Richard Gere
posted by Sys Rq at 8:21 AM on June 2, 2009


I hate you all.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 AM on June 2, 2009


Although I think I only used "vagina" in the thread, I'm a 44-year-old woman and see no beef with the word "cooter" because I think it's funny.

So Jake sees Somers as a poor representative of his mother, as a crazy person who is discrediting his mother's work. That's why I think it was filial duty driving him to act, not shilling so much as 'lay off my mom's work!'

But nobody was mentioning his mother in the thread. He brought that whole thing into it (along with "chach"). We were all ticking along nicely with "How silly that people take aging starlets' pronouncements about medicine seriously" when he was all "I'M AN EXPERT. I MEAN, MY MOM IS AN EXPERT."
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Similarly, if I say, "you used a word more typically used by much older people in order to sound pretentious," that does not mean older people are pretentious.

That was a sloppy inequality on my part, so mea culpa. Let me reframe it:

I don't believe that people who use the word "drivel" come anywhere close in aggregate to falling into an equivalence class restricted to either people who are at or near 50+ years old or people who are being (willfully or otherwise) pretentious, and claiming otherwise doesn't make for a very good argument unless you've actually got something to back it up with. I think you're inventing a classification of "drivel" that doesn't really exist as stated, is all, which isn't a compelling way to try to ID someone.

But I also feel like this exchange has come off sounding more spiky than I intended it to, so I apologize for that. It's all good, hugs, etc.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:27 AM on June 2, 2009


Sidhedevil: " He brought that whole thing into it (along with "chach")."

I have defended Mother Beese on various occasions. I have not yet been required to reference her lady-parts to do so.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:29 AM on June 2, 2009


What the bloody queef are you talking about, Beese?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on June 2, 2009


Warren Beatty administering his miracle youth elixir as a rectal suppository.

This has now replaced John Stossel's taint in the pantheon of Things I Don't Want To Think About, Thanks.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


And now I'm leaving to hang out with my age-sex-class cohort and our 100 acceptable vocabulary words.

OK, dude.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:36 AM on June 2, 2009


Thank you, Burhanistan, for the most unpleasant mental image to enter my mind in a considerable amount of time. I think I will now go lie down and vomit. If there is a merciful God out there he will let me choke on my own spew and I will never have to think again.
posted by Kattullus at 8:37 AM on June 2, 2009


when he was all "I'M AN EXPERT. I MEAN, MY MOM IS AN EXPERT."

Don't forget "I KNOW MORE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE." That was the weirdest part, to me.
posted by odinsdream at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've been a member of this site for a very long time with a commenting history that speaks for itself. I have no relationship to jakeelala, Susanne Somers or anyone else affiliated with any kind of hormones, BHRT, HRT or otherwise. I am disgusted at the way jakeelala has been treated. Jakeelala said some things that I was even slightly embarassed about for him ("I know more than you can imagine."), but I didn't see him being rude to anyone from the outset. He has been eviscerated here for nothing more than supporting a position which currently goes against the established orthodoxy and which, as yet, has insufficient research, as well as being unsure how much about himself to reveal because he wished to protect his mother and her research and perhaps felt it was inappropriate for him to speak about it directly.

At no point did I see him lie about who he was. Disagree as much as you'd like, but I think a great number of you have been twats. I am embarrassed to be part of metafilter today. Is this the ugly community we've become that has no concept of 'benefit of the doubt'? Someone else on here did some research on jakeelala's presence in other online forums and found that he was quite well-received and quite well-behaved. Why should we question his motives in joining this forum? He has every right to participate. We're all human, we all make mistakes. Perhaps there are better ways he could have handled things, but I don't think anything he did was worthy of this treatment. He certainly can't go back and undo the past. Cut the guy some slack.
posted by PigAlien at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Suffice it to say that however much I may be glad that Givewell's dirty laundry got a good airing, I remain conflicted about how that situation played out on site

In retrospect, I think the better choice for me would have been to email the mods instead of calling out the self-link on MetaTalk. I'm not sure why I did that, exactly, except it seemed like the recommended path. It's not always clear what's 'worthy' of a mod e-mail and I think I thought that MetaTalk was the place to point out the self-link. That post was what enabled the whole thing to become a public event. I can say for sure that my ideas on what's worth a direct mod contact have changed - I'll email mods at the drop of a hat now, whereas before I worried that I was bothering them or something.

I'm not sure where on the site these norms get communicated. I would not want to see a recurrence of the GW episode, which was ridiculously dramatic and quite strange. The best one could say about that episode is that it raised awareness of what astroturfing is in a sector that was pretty unfamiliar with the concept, and if it hadn't happened here it would have happened to someone else elsewhere eventually, but it was needlessly amplified the way it went down.

As a web community, we might value transparency and disclosure of, and I know we value research and seeking out sources, but it's kind of sticky to value all that when you're in a medium in which everyone's a public figure and a lot of information is easy to find. It can easily cross the line from fact-finding and clearing the record to hounding. That'll be a matter of self-regulation, at both the individual and community levels, and the mods should - and I am confident they do - watch for the crossing of that line as carefully as they watch for the inappropriate self-linking or identity games.
posted by Miko at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


it would really, really help if they covered their internet tracks leading to any hinky photos or statements.

word people!

email addresses are free. Someone once emailed me from an address that a quick google showed had posted advice on how to best smoke crystal meth. The posting was years old by that point, chances are the guy wasn't currently doing meth, but the lack of google-awareness did nothing for my opinion of his technical skills.
posted by nomisxid at 8:47 AM on June 2, 2009


amro: "269If a MeFi or AskMe thread has over 400 comments, chances are there's a MetaTalk thread on it, iamkimiam."

Exactly. If you are unfamiliar with the site, you wouldn't know that. And if there are 400+ comments, then that one comment that says "Meta" is hard to find. Most people would just take the first 10 comments at face value and say to themselves, "oh, that's the gist of the thread, these are people's views, blech." This is why contentious threads should have a "This is being discussed in MetaTalk" at the TOP of the thread, so that people are alerted right off that there is some intensive discussion about some aspect of the post, if they so wish to delve into that.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:51 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boo-hoo-hoo, jakeelala is only 27. Holden Karnofsky was 26 when he pulled his bullshit. It's pretty clear that the Raden family has a habit of going around the Internet acting like fucking glassy-eyed Jim Jones Amway shill-bots for mommy's miracle elixir. Dad Raden's comments in that Wikipedia talk thread are especially aggressive, but maybe all Wikipedia talk threads are like that. It's no wonder that the scion picked up this noxious behavior like a chip off the old block, but he's a grown adult talking about how "we're" doing research and "we're" demonstrating thus and such, so he can live with the fallout.

The one thing I'll give him credit for is that since he apparently actually has a bachelor's degree, he's at least marginally more qualified to talk about, well, anything than his snake-oil peddling mother.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is this the ugly community we've become that has no concept of 'benefit of the doubt'?

There is always and has always been tension here (as in all places) between credulity and skepticism, between extending the benefit of the doubt and calling out that which smells as having an odor. To paint that as "having no concept" of providing the benefit of the doubt is badly off the mark.

There are things that happen on mefi during episodes like this that strike me as unnecessary and over-the-top, and the thread in the blue contains some stuff that I don't much like from people reacting to jakeelala, but by and large people here are pretty reasonable when they feel they're being dealt with fairly and honestly.

Jake's inability to choose between having or eating his cake precipitated a whole lot of bad feelings that I think frankly made the continued extension of the benefit of the doubt (which a review of that thread will show was in evidence amidst the skepticism) very difficult for a lot of people to manage. The benefit of the doubt is not something that comes carte blanche, free of any concomitant responsibility on the part of the beneficiary. If you're given the benefit of the doubt, you want to justify that gift, and Jake did a fundamentally lousy job of that.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


Seriously, how hard is it to work teh googlz?

We're all on dre Bingle now.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:56 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


At no point did I see him lie about who he was. Disagree as much as you'd like, but I think a great number of you have been twats.

Misha, I found the misogynistic bullshit you were looking for.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why should we question his motives in joining this forum?

Because his family stands to profit from misleading people into believing that a particular treatment is safer and better tested than it really is.
posted by diogenes at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


The Givewell thing was interesting to watch but also brought out some of the more ugly aspects of this community. Since a lot of it unfurled over the New Years Eve/Day holiday, it also took up a little too much of my damned time when I would have preferred to be celebrating and/or sleeping.

We had people going over to other sites and being fighty (and many other people going to other sites and being quite awesome) and we had people coming to this site and being fighty (less so with the awesome). Part of the issue is that when communities and/or people are getting to know each other, it doesn't take more than one or two "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" comments to make people think "Man, MetaFilter is a bunch of assholes" While I'm okay with people generally walking away with that impression if they can't be bothered to get to know the place, I am quite certain that's what some of the fallout from the Givewell Affair led to and probably some of what was informing what I did in this instance.

Part of the thing that I think is really difficult, even moreso in an online community is realizing that you're not on a level playing field with the people who you're fighting with. I think we all understand more easily in real life that there are members of our communities who, while they may be fighty and rude to us, just aren't quite all there and they deserve our compassion and not our scorn. In an extreme example I'm thinking of some of the odder people who live in my town, who may have developmental disabilities or other cognitive issues that make them simultanously sometime unpleasant to be around but also not a threat to me. So, there's a certain degree of maturity or what-have-you in not treating everyone in your immediate arena as a worthy formidable adversary and coming at them with every fiber of your being. You look like a jerk yelling at your kid in a supermarket, as another example, no matter what your kid has done. You're not on a level playing field with them.

In the online world, I think it's harder to say "this person does not really have a grasp of the issues" and then being able to step back and explain them and try to engage in dialogue [as I saw many people try to do with gushn in the abortion thread, incidentally] instead of being all "fuck you, you make me angry and you're stupid too, GRAR" which is a direction that I think often leads to ill will all around, not just directed at your supposed adversary.

And I think there's the also-important point that talking about things like heath care and abortion and laws that affect us really do change lives and people really do feel a sense of urgency to get the truth-to-power stuff OUT THERE because it's horrible that medical shysters prey on uninformed people and do things that potentially harm them. I may be more quiescent about this than I should be, certainly, but it's important to me to limit the amount of "MeFi is a bunch of assholes" stuff that goes on here that is individual-directed as opposed to just generalized frustration with the world the way it is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 AM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, and I'd like to add, it's perfectly possible that jakeelala believes in the work his mother is doing, and that she believes it herself. You may call them misguided, or even outright fools, but what is wrong with them wishing to defend something they believe in? Also, however much you may wish to point to Wiley Watch and ridicule his mother, jakeelala is NOT his mother. If he supports his mother's research and parrots her arguments here in the forum, by all means, present your own counter-opinions, but these ad-hominem attacks against him accomplish nothing other than making you look like rabid dogs. If he appealed to his mother's authority, that's because he was asked to provide credentials, and in this case, his credentials ARE his work with his mother and her research. He was not dishonest about that. Even if his mother, and indeed he, have a financial interest in promoting this protocol, it doesn't mean they don't wholeheartedly believe in it also. And, quite frankly, I do cut them much more slack than I cut the large, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies when it comes to motivating factors. Look at the example of Lorenzo's Oil.
posted by PigAlien at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


If there's ever an angry mob forming, please just go sit down.

What's the fun in that?
posted by deborah at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If there's ever an angry mob forming, please just go sit down.

I knew buying pitchforks in bulk at Costco was going to bite us in the ass one day.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:02 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

in fact, i was very skeptical of my mothers work (due to a lack of familiarity) for a long time. it wasn't until i started talking to the doctors that i decided she was really on to something. in the last couple of years.
Now I'm in love
Yeah, I'm a believer
Couldn't leave her
If I tried...
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If there's ever an angry mob forming, please just go sit down.

What's the fun in that?


I was really only halfway kidding there. But I would caution people who like to jump on the festering hate bandwagons: when you see images of crowds going out of control and think to yourself "What crazy people! Why can't they control themselves?", know that you are probably susceptible to catching the crazy wave and doing something inexcusable yourself. So, to avoid that, remember to just sit down. You can thank me later.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on June 2, 2009


in fact, i was very skeptical of my mothers work (due to a lack of familiarity) for a long time. it wasn't until i started talking to the doctors that i decided she was really on to something.

Is it just me, or does this sound like it was lifted from a Ronco infomercial?
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2009


I'm still confused about the whole thing and how Chrissie Snow's cooter philosophies are involved, but this was exponentially better than working through lunch today.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2009


Is it just me, or does this sound like it was lifted from a Ronco infomercial?

Are you suggesting that bioidentical hormones can scramble your eggs from the inside?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:13 AM on June 2, 2009


I can't count how many of you gleefully went on and on about vaginas

I gleefully went on about vaginas. In my defense, Suzanne Somers' vagina was actually a pertinent part of the initial discussion about the treatment. And how often is Suzanne Somers' vagina a valid topic of discussion? I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. And now this comment has given me the opportunity to do it twice more. I'm done now, I promise.
posted by diogenes at 9:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


there's a certain degree of maturity or what-have-you in not treating everyone in your immediate arena as a worthy formidable adversary and coming at them with every fiber of your being.

Worth repeating, a good life lesson, and something I have a hard time remembering sometimes. For everything it's easy for us to know with our newfangled search engines, there's a lot of stuff it can never tell you.
posted by Miko at 9:14 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


If he supports his mother's research and parrots her arguments here in the forum, by all means, present your own counter-opinions, but these ad-hominem attacks against him accomplish nothing other than making you look like rabid dogs.

I disagree with your characterization of the response. The thrust of the comments directed at jakeelala and Wiley may have been aimed at destroying their credibility, but that doesn't make them ad hominem even if they're not directly responding to the scientific issues. Plus I think the burden of showing some scientifically valid evidence of a therapy's usefulness is properly on the person advocating for it - and so far, those advocates have only been able to come forward with weak sauce. So I don't know that the structure of the debate here could be much else besides saying, "Hey, your supposed therapy has no real support, oh, and by the way it doesn't help your credibility when you mislead people about your scientific credentials and the fact that you have an undisclosed financial stake in seeing this therapy get good press."
posted by chinston at 9:22 AM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Cooter" was a perfectly cromulent word for that thread. We are, after all, talking about old Suzanne Somers squirting hinky goop up her vagina like she's building a vacation retreat for the Ponce de León. Going all clinical and scientific with the terminology does an injustice to the ridiculous topic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


The kid deserves kid-gloves.

In the Webster College reunion picture (linked to above), it appears that Jake is >1 year old in 1987. That would make him 21/22 y.o. today.
posted by ericb at 9:27 AM on June 2, 2009


Chinston, I came to the thread from the beginning and watched the entire thing unfold and read every comment avidly as it was posted. At no point in time did jakeelala try to mislead anyone about his credentials, scientific or otherwise. In fact, he was very clear that he wasn't a scientist. I had no problem with people asking him to provide scientific papers to support his statements, but when he honestly replied that he wasn't able to do so at that time, he was immediately met with cries along the lines of, "well, then, you're just full of shit, you dishonest windbag, GTFO of our forum."
posted by PigAlien at 9:30 AM on June 2, 2009


diogenes: " how often is Suzanne Somers' vagina a valid topic of discussion?"

Every two years or so.

(previously)
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2009


...it appears that Jake is >1 year old in 1987.

Oops. My bad. I referenced the wrong kid. He actually looks about 3 - 5 y.o. in that picture. S0, as has been noted above he's about 27 y.o. now.
posted by ericb at 9:33 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh man, I just got around to watching the entire 20/20 video. At about 6:40, T.S. Wiley says that the reason it's ok to promote an untested treatment for mimicking the hormones in a 20 year old's body is because "women in their 20s are generally overall healthier."
posted by diogenes at 9:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


In fact, he was very clear that he wasn't a scientist. I had no problem with people asking him to provide scientific papers to support his statements, but when he honestly replied that he wasn't able to do so at that time, he was immediately met with cries along the lines of, "well, then, you're just full of shit, you dishonest windbag, GTFO of our forum."

Um, what? No, he didn't say he was a scientist--but he did say his mom was, and relied on her credibility for his substanceless "arguments." His mom is NOT a scientist. She's a fraud and a quack.

And, I'm sorry, anyone who peddles pharmaceuticals without legitimate clinical evidence for their effectiveness is a dishonest windbag and should GTFO of our forum.

I think you just have an axe to grind against the health-care industry, which is fine--but "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is the wrong approach to take here.
posted by nasreddin at 9:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


I just remembered Step by Step. Oh dear god. Suzanne Somers and Patrick Duffy made out in every damn episode. It was gross.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:37 AM on June 2, 2009


Also, PigAlien, the fact that you feel strongly about something doesn't mean you deserve to be taken seriously, especially if you don't argue in good faith (as jakeelala certainly did not).
posted by nasreddin at 9:39 AM on June 2, 2009


It's a 50-year-old dude's word in the same way "fabulous" marks you as a woman over 40.

Or, a gay man!
posted by ericb at 9:39 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Suzanne Somers squirting hinky goop up her vagina

Relatedly, one of the odd things about hormone replacement therapy and hormone-related medicine generally [and I didn't start reading the thread really until it got weird] is that some of it does involve putting stuff in your vagina. I'm not super thrilled about that, but it's a reality of the world of medicine, particularly the "women getting older" sort of medicine where you may have a pessary for uterine prolapse, a vaginal ring for dealing with menopausal symptoms or other sorts of approaches to changes that occur in the vag area post-menopause.

As a middle-aged woman, thinking about these sorts of things is just the reality of my life getting older, just like dealing with getting my period is something I deal with now. Admittedly Suzanne Somers turns it into a bit of a clown show, but just listening to people sort of HURF DURF NEEDLE IN THE VAJAYJAY through that thread made me realize that a lot of people may really have no idea that this is something that happens medically all the time, for more prosaic reasons than whatever this wacky snake oil situation is.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2009 [16 favorites]


Jakeelala said some things that I was even slightly embarassed about for him ("I know more than you can imagine."), but I didn't see him being rude to anyone from the outset. He has been eviscerated here for nothing more than supporting a position which currently goes against the established orthodoxy

He strongly supported a fringe position in a forum where nearly everyone disagreed with him, which never goes over well. In fact, one of the most effective ways of trolling is to adopt an unpopular position and defend it much in the same way that jakeelala did. Even though trolls by definition do not actually believe what they say, an average regular from MetaFilter honestly posting their views on Free Republic or Little Green Footballs for example would be indistinguishable from trolling in that context. You can't expect to walk into any forum and start saying "You are all ignorant and wrong. I am the only one who knows what I'm talking about here" and not have everyone gang up on you, regardless of whether or not your views are widely accepted outside of that forum.

You may call them misguided, or even outright fools, but what is wrong with them wishing to defend something they believe in?

Nothing's wrong with it, it's just a really bad idea that usually ends up hurting people's feelings. If someone defends a completely backwards and harmful position, they are going to get a lot of very negative responses from it. And nobody likes seeing people tear down something that they believe in. When confronted with proof that they are wrong about something that they have strong feelings about and have deeply integrated into who they are, people normally don't calmly say "Oh, I guess you're right, I'll just go ahead and change my worldview to fit with this new information," instead they get angry or go into denial or use some other defense mechanism. I think a lot of people overestimate the ability of rational discussion to reach a consensus on contentious issues, and sometimes it's better to just recognize that a discussion isn't going to go anywhere avoid wasting a lot of time going down that dead-end road.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


so now im going to med school so i will never have to struggle like she does because she didn't have the advantage of getting to go to medical school

Oh man, can I ever relate. It's like how the cops keep riding me because I'm performing all of these open-heart surgeries in my basement on homeless people I've kidnapped. They'd probably leave me alone if I had the advantage of getting to go to medical school.
posted by turaho at 9:45 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


At no point in time did jakeelala try to mislead anyone about his credentials, scientific or otherwise

Sorry - when I referred to misleading statements about credentials I was unclear. I guess your reading of jakeelala's comments is more charitable than mine, so fair enough, but I believe he was trying to mislead people about his mother's credentials (1) when he said:
My mother trains doctors on the molecular biology and endocrinology associated with cyclically dosed bio-identical hormones.

She's also a published researcher in the field of oncology, specifically reproductive cancers. She's also currently overseeing 2 very early stage studies of long term (1-7 years) BHRT replacement therapy with an oncologyst and an OBGYN who are proponents of such treatments. Clinical trials to follow.

Who might I ask, are you?
and (2) when he was biochemists are like this, but MDs are like this ("biochemists aren't MD's. I wouldn't expect them to know the difference."), which I think intends to induce the reader to believe that the writer or people working with the writer possess MDs, and mislead people about his own credentials (3) when he said, "I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine."

and more misleading about Wiley's credentials when he said (4): "Her papers were in peer-reviewed Oncology journals."

and (5) finally, he voluntarily and explicitly tied his own credibility to hers on these matters when he said "Who ever said I wasn't involved in the research or what I'm talking about? I have a separate day job but I am involved professionaly with what she does."

And then yeah, after these gems, he backpedaled a bit about how he was still studying for the MCATS. I'm sorry - one or two of these statements I might forgive as careless exaggerating or harmless error. But all of them together? That's a pattern of willing deception.
posted by chinston at 9:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [27 favorites]


Finkle is Einhorn? Einhorn is Finkle?!
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:57 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm all for civility, PigAlien, but when somebody makes the claim "I actually know far more about this subject than I think you can imagine," I find the response "You're just full of shit" to be perfectly appropriate. I mean, it kinda clarifies the issues.
posted by chinston at 10:00 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


An aside: I know we oughtn't out people, and I don't want to advocate the watching of Wileys. That said, if one of you guys happens to be Kehinde Wiley, you, sir, are awesome.

p.s., turaho: Sort of true! According to this, they'd just have to be homeless cats, and you'd have to be in the Bronx. Working on a life-saving transplant. In the 50s.

Boop. Now back to your regularly-scheduled thread.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:08 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I think you just have an axe to grind against the health-care industry, which is fine--but "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is the wrong approach to take here.

Hahaha, I have no axe to grind against the health-care industry. I do believe that multi-national corporations have too much power in our democracy, including pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. However, I have no axe to grind against them in the sense that I feel they have done me any personal wrongs. I am simply an ordinary citizen living in a world controlled by wealthy, special interests, who quite honestly don't give a **** about me, and I know who works in my interest, and who doesn't.
posted by PigAlien at 10:15 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh, and I worked in the City in London and on Wall Street, and I have a fair number of friends and acquaintances all the way from college who work(ed) for Goldman, Citi, AIG, etc., and I have a bit of first-hand knowledge of how these people think and work. Unless you're one of them, your interests and my interests are not their interests, and we're on the losing side of the field if we don't understand that. You can call that an axe to grind, if you want. I call it being reality-based.
posted by PigAlien at 10:25 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: "HURF DURF NEEDLE IN THE VAJAYJAY"

I have snippets of children's songs going through my head now.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:26 AM on June 2, 2009


"HURF DURF NEEDLE IN THE VAJAYJAY"

It sounds to me like the basis for next month's Mefi Music challenge.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:34 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I worked in the City in London and on Wall Street, and I have a fair number of friends and acquaintances all the way from college who work(ed) for Goldman, Citi, AIG, etc., and I have a bit of first-hand knowledge of how these people think and work. Unless you're one of them, your interests and my interests are not their interests, and we're on the losing side of the field if we don't understand that. You can call that an axe to grind, if you want. I call it being reality-based.

I don't disagree--I'd say I have an axe to grind against them too. The point is that the debate over the healthcare industry is entirely orthogonal to the debate over harmful Oprah quackery, and people who imply otherwise are selling you something. It's a tried-and-true tactic: they rope you in with unobjectionable statements about how evil the industry is, then position themselves as the only alternative. Which, of course, is complete bullshit. Both the quacks and the healthcare industry are equally not working in your interest.

(The vaccine thread a few days ago had the same exact thing happen. The way arguments against the vaccine-autism connection were repeatedly turned into arguments about the healthcare industry is a classic demonstration of this technique in action.)
posted by nasreddin at 10:37 AM on June 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


At no point in time did jakeelala try to mislead anyone about his credentials, scientific or otherwise.

I think this is an accurate portrayal of jakeelala's contributions to the thread. I'm kind of surprised that everyone's trying to depict him as this great deceiver, chinston's pretty reasonable reading of jakeelala's comments notwithstanding. I can't speak for anybody else, obviously, but the impression I got from him was not one of some guy trying to sell us snake oil, but rather of somebody who for some unfortunate reason really believes it works. That doesn't make him blameless in all of this, though.

Honestly, what frustrated me about him, and continues to frustrate me about him, is that he doesn't seem to realize that just because he really loves his mom doesn't mean it's his job to go spouting unsupported nonsense about hormone replacement therapy. his very first comment was designed to make newsweek look like a bunch of corrupt shills for Big Pharma, so obviously Suzanne Somers must be on to something. however corrupt our government, media and medical organizations might be (and I'm prepared to believe almost any level of corruption from all of the above), that doesn't mean it's ok to promote unproven and possibly dangerous medical treatments just because you're a big fan of your mom's unlicensed and totally quacky work. I don't care if he really believes what he's saying or not. He needed to put up or shut up and he chose neither in favor of continued vagaries and accusations toward licensed health professionals. That's really not ok in my book.
posted by shmegegge at 10:40 AM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm kind of surprised that everyone's trying to depict him as this great deceiver, chinston's pretty reasonable reading of jakeelala's comments notwithstanding. I can't speak for anybody else, obviously, but the impression I got from him was not one of some guy trying to sell us snake oil, but rather of somebody who for some unfortunate reason really believes it works.

I think there were two prongs of his argument, one of which he believes in and one of which was meant to deceive: (1) BHRT is beneficial, and some day we'll all realize that he was right all along; and (2) his mother is a clinical research scientist and/or doctor. The latter was meant to deceive us into giving credence to the former, which I do think he believes.
posted by palliser at 10:46 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


"At no point did I see him lie about who he was."

That's like saying Clinton didn't lie about having sex with an intern, technically, sort of. And I think it's a bullshit thing to assert.

If he had said right up front - "My mom is doing some research on this, here is a link to that research. No, she doesn't have a degree in anything, but here is why you should take it seriously.....", that would be different. He danced around all of that. Right? How is that being honest?

And the reason he wasn't honest was to hide a clear conflict of interest, as well as the fact that the internet knows his mom is a quack.

I'm sorry, but the kid is a liar. If you can't see the misrepresentation there I think you're being way too charitable.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:53 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


And the reason he wasn't honest was to hide a clear conflict of interest, as well as the fact that the internet knows his mom is a quack.

It seems more likely that he was just being an idiot.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Someone else on here did some research on jakeelala's presence in other online forums and found that he was quite well-received and quite well-behaved.

Yeah, I did find that, but the guy didn't join Yelp to pick apart a review of his favorite restaurant by posing as an elite chef. His engagement with mefi, however, was frought with cryptic appeals to authority and graceless (though admirably civil) argumentation. I don't think mefi's reaction was unjustified at the time because of his posturing, but now the exposure has pretty much silenced him and the time for lulz has passed.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:56 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, maybe I should add that, look, my comments are limited, as they have to be, to being just some observations/interpretations of some stuff somebody wrote under some username on some site on the internet. I'm not saying this person kicks dogs or cheats on his taxes or fails to separate his recycling (and seriously, I'm not indulging in any kind of paralipsis here). I dunno - it is what it is, y'know? Nothing more.
posted by chinston at 11:02 AM on June 2, 2009


Givewell would have been better handled by quietly sweeping everything under the rug, what?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:07 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, she didn't have the advantage of going to medical school and didn't have the advantage of finishing her BA? Weird.
posted by anniecat at 11:08 AM on June 2, 2009


Maybe this stuff gives you holoprosencephaly... have we seen his teeth?
posted by Justinian at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2009


Givewell would have been better handled by quietly sweeping everything under the rug, what?

Givewell might have been better handled if it hadn't turned into a three day chest-thumping and shaming exercise. What?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:11 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The one thing I'll give him credit for is that since he apparently actually has a bachelor's degree, he's at least marginally more qualified to talk about, well, anything than his snake-oil peddling mother.

With a bachelor's, he's only really qualified to work at the Estee Lauder counter at a dept store or sterilize test tubes in a community college science lab (and the latter is only true if he has a bachelor's in a hard science).
posted by anniecat at 11:12 AM on June 2, 2009


"the guy didn't join Yelp to pick apart a review of his favorite restaurant by posing as an elite chef."

That's the point, isn't it? If you search him out on the internet, you'll see he doesn't have a history of running around spouting off about this subject. so why can't we cut him some slack here? there are plenty of other forums where he could doubtlessly have gotten himself involved in this discussion. perhaps this will be the first of many.

I didn't see him try to lie about his mother's credentials either. What he said about her was true. She does teach CME classes and she has participated and is participating in research.

I think there is an implication in this thread, and one that I have seen elsewhere in the real world, that those who do not have degrees are incapable of knowing anything about a subject. I have a Master's degree and Bachelor's degree in two different subjects. I do believe I know something about those topics, but I don't believe that just because I have a degree always makes me right and anyone else who doesn't have a degree wrong when talking about these topics.

In addition, I have a broad interest in many other subjects, as well as life experience, that gives me more than a passing knowledge of many subjects in which I don't have advanced degrees. I was paid well over 6 figures for my knowledge of computers by the time I was 24 years old, even though I had no degree in the subject and had only taken one or two classes. I no longer work with computers, but to this day, my friends who make their living working with computers still call and ask me for advice.

Someone like Jakeelala's mother, who may have a sincere interest and belief in what she's studying and promoting is constantly encountering those who would doubt her, call her out, say she's a quack. So she's a human being and when she's backed into a corner by those who would try to make a mockery of her, she might be embarassed at her lack of a formal education and try to brush it off by making statements of having attended and forgotten whether she had a degree or not. You might even call it outright lying, but look at the circumstances. I watched that 20/20 piece, and the reporter was clearly out to get her. She said she didn't remember if she got a degree, that's really silly and embarassing, yes, but she didn't lie and say she had one, did she? Even when asked directly, her answer was that she "attended a program," which she did...

Get off your high horses people and stop insulting, berating, name calling and just generally acting holier than thou.
posted by PigAlien at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


The one thing I'll give him credit for is that since he apparently actually has a bachelor's degree, he's at least marginally more qualified to talk about, well, anything than his snake-oil peddling mother.

If anyone has any doubt that she is a snake-oil peddling quack, you will have no doubt about her quackdom after watching the Stossel piece on Suzanne Somers. Her discomfiture when faced with the reporter's probing questions is palpable. Her statement that she "doesn't remember" whether she received a university degree defies belief. The woman comes across as a grade-A, batshitinsane loon.
posted by jayder at 11:29 AM on June 2, 2009


The one thing I'll give him credit for is that since he apparently actually has a bachelor's degree

PubMed or GTFO.
posted by aquafortis at 11:30 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Deep breath...hold it...hold it...annnnd exhale. There, doesn't feel better.
posted by MikeMc at 11:30 AM on June 2, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to add that there's a clear pattern throughout history of amateur scientists making important discoveries. Here's an article on just 5 of them:

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/the-5-most-important-amateur-scientists/940

I am NOT saying that Wiley is a brilliant, amateur scientist, but I am saying she still has time to prove she is, and that she can still have knowledge of a subject without a degree and without being an MD.
posted by PigAlien at 11:31 AM on June 2, 2009


As a middle-aged woman

Nuh uh. Middle aged is 15 years older than me. or my parents' age, depending on how I feel that day.

Also: Oprah-naughts, to answer objections above.
posted by lysdexic at 11:31 AM on June 2, 2009


I think there is an implication in this thread, and one that I have seen elsewhere in the real world, that those who do not have degrees are incapable of knowing anything about a subject.

I think it's virtually mandatory for rational people to reject the claims of health and medical expertise made by people who have no degrees in the subject. Health and medicine are simply too complex and difficult to be mastered by someone without the requisite academic background.

That's not being up on a high horse, it's just common sense.
posted by jayder at 11:32 AM on June 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


re: V-J-J and its variants

So I guess there won't be a "cooter counter" for this one? Do I need to do it?
posted by lysdexic at 11:33 AM on June 2, 2009


There is always and has always been tension here (as in all places) between credulity and skepticism, between extending the benefit of the doubt and calling out that which smells as having an odor.

I have discovered an easy way to deal with this: I do not hide my incompetence at virtually every facet of life. Thus I am immune to skepticism. It works!
posted by Justinian at 11:38 AM on June 2, 2009


I really am going to have this for dinner:

Bioidentical Curry*

1/4 cup canola oil
1 pound sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
4-6 serrano peppers, seeded and minced
4 black peppercorns, coarsely ground
6 cloves, coarsely ground
4 green cardamom pods, split
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
14 ounce can coconut milk
2 cups shelled edamame
salt to taste
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Heat canola oil to medium in a heavy saucepan. Fry sweet potato until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from oil with a spatula or slotted spoon. In remaining oil, cook onion until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and peppers, and cook for 2 minutes. Add spices and cook for 1 minute. Add coconut milk and edamame. Heat to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Taste for salt. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

*with apologies to World Food Café by Chris and Carolyn Caldicott (their version is called Zanzibar Beans in Coconut Sauce.)
posted by zinfandel at 11:45 AM on June 2, 2009 [11 favorites]


I am NOT saying that Wiley is a brilliant, amateur scientist, but I am saying she still has time to prove she is, and that she can still have knowledge of a subject without a degree and without being an MD.

Even if it were possible for her to become a brilliant scientist without a degree (which I am not granting you), she has absolutely no right to expect anyone to acknowledge her expertise or brilliance.

See, with regard to medical expertise, laypeople (not being doctors) have no way to evaluate whether someone does or doesn't have medical expertise. It takes expertise to determine whether someone is an expert. That's why there are credentials --- medical degrees and medical licenses --- accepted designations that prove that someone has at least a minimum level of education and competence in the field.

To say "someone without a degree might actually be a brilliant, groundbreaking scientist," is about as rational as saying, "this e-mail I received from a person in Nigeria saying they have a million dollars for me may actually be a legitimate opportunity."
posted by jayder at 11:46 AM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


I watched that 20/20 piece, and the reporter was clearly out to get her.

That's what all investigative journalists do, it's their job. They get paid to go find people engaging in questionable activities, get evidence of it, and publicly expose them. Part of the point of doing that is to balance out the constant stream of harmful bullshit that comes from people like Wiley.

She said she didn't remember if she got a degree, that's really silly and embarassing, yes, but she didn't lie and say she had one, did she?

Not in that case, but if you believe the well-documented claims on Wiley Watch, she repeatedly did misrepresent herself as a college graduate.

Get off your high horses people and stop insulting, berating, name calling and just generally acting holier than thou.

I agree that name calling doesn't have any place in a civil discussion and some of the comments went too far. But calling out people who misrepresent themselves or prescribe dangerous untested treatment methods to women for profit is something that really should happen when those people show up and start characterizing themselves as the misunderstood martyrs to the evil healthcare industry. If they are confident enough about their unproven methods to risk the lives of patients who agree to follow them, they should be able to stand up to the scrutiny of some random people on the Internet.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:46 AM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


In addition, I have a broad interest in many other subjects, as well as life experience, that gives me more than a passing knowledge of many subjects in which I don't have advanced degrees. I was paid well over 6 figures for my knowledge of computers by the time I was 24 years old, even though I had no degree in the subject and had only taken one or two classes. I no longer work with computers, but to this day, my friends who make their living working with computers still call and ask me for advice.

the is the most wes butan comment on all of metafilter
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think there is an implication in this thread, and one that I have seen elsewhere in the real world, that those who do not have degrees are incapable of knowing anything about a subject.

Yeah, I've been been meaning to work through the tutorials in that Learn Biology/Hormone Therapy in 24 hours book.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:54 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


jayder: I think it's virtually mandatory for rational people to reject the claims of health and medical expertise made by people who have no degrees in the subject. Health and medicine are simply too complex and difficult to be mastered by someone without the requisite academic background.

There have been cases of non-doctors who've made valuable contributions in recent years, the most famous case probably being that of Augusto and Michaela Odone. The jury is still out on whether "Lorenzo's Oil" is really an effective treatment for adrenoleukodystrophy but it is taken seriously by the medical community.

That said, most laypeople who claim to have made major scientific breakthroughs are quacks.
posted by Kattullus at 11:58 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've been been meaning to work through the tutorials in that Learn Biology/Hormone Therapy in 24 hours book.

I highly recommend "HRT and Bioidentical Hormones For Dummies", it's much better. But only the 3rd edition. Trust me. I'm an expert.
posted by MikeMc at 12:01 PM on June 2, 2009


So, Jayder, are you saying that Farraday, Mendel and Edison came from Nigeria?
posted by PigAlien at 12:01 PM on June 2, 2009


"I didn't start reading the thread really until it got weird," jessamyn.

So from the second comment on then? Because I'm calling "weird" from the potato up the ass comment onward. Either that or you live a very different life than most librarians.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:02 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


PigAlien:

Aren't you avoiding the fact that they are specifically touting an un-scientific medical procedure that may in fact be harmful? That's distinctly different than a non-expert giving computer advice, being paid to do so, and claiming to be an expert in said matters. That won't lead to death.

Whether or not he was being deceitful*, the specific content of his message was such that it warranted specific and vigorous analysis due to the fact that human lives are literally at stake.

* I happen to believe he was being deceitful by carefully crafting his message to avoid outright lies while altogether hiding the obvious credibility issues. In the most damning case, he lays out a series of categorical interactions that his mother did NOT have with Sommers, which of course avoids the fact that there WERE interactions, just not of the type he listed. I believe he clearly knew his case lacked credibility and rather, as mentioned earlier, simply coming right out with that and still making his case, he attempted to obfuscate in the apparent hope that it would go unquestioned. "I know this position is widely considered crackpot, but hear me out..." would have gone over mostly-okay.
posted by odinsdream at 12:03 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Um, Brandon, Mrs. Wiley has been involved in this subject for 13 years, longer than it would have taken her to go through medical school... I am NOT saying she knows everything, or even anything, but I am saying she has more than 24 hours worth of knowledge on the subject.... Apples and oranges?
posted by PigAlien at 12:04 PM on June 2, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to add that there's a clear pattern throughout history of amateur scientists making important discoveries. Here's an article on just 5 of them:

First, none of those amateur scientists worked on humans. There are ethical issues with medical research, particularly human medical research, that fairly well demand a high barrier to entry.

Second, all but four are very much historical examples. In the past it was very difficult and even unusual for people, particularly women, to be able to obtain academic certification. Though some difficulties and inequalities remain, the situation is much better now. There is little excuse for not going through a formal educational process, particularly if one wants to work in the medical field.

Furthermore, the one modern example is an astronomer, and astronomy is just about the least dangerous kind of science you can do, short of a telescope falling on you.

In short, the existence of amateur scientists in history does not imply that any particular credence or even tolerance should be given to the research of amateur medical 'scientists' like TS Wiley.

The case of the Odones does not prove the issue here. Regardless of whether the oil turns out to be an effective treatment, they will have made their disabled child into an unwitting participant in an experiment with no oversight. As far as I can tell, they did not begin with an in vitro or animal model, instead jumping directly to a human. This is the same kind of ethical problem that TS Wiley fell into.

Finally, if the oil is proved effective, it will be due to the work of actual researchers and doctors performing properly designed, ethical studies. The ends do not justify the means. What if the oil had killed Lorenzo or worsened his condition? Essentially, the Odones got lucky, but what they did was still wrong, despite what benefit may be derived from it.
posted by jedicus at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


Christ, what? We have to -- what -- seriously consider that some non-licensed, non-degreed person who claims themselves as a "published research scientist" and is selling cooter-shooters may, indeed, turn out to be some kind of brilliant autodidact? No, I do not, I am sorry. I do not have time for this definition of open-mindedness.
posted by palliser at 12:08 PM on June 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


Well, odinsdream, I AM an expert on computers... That was my point. One does not need a degree to be an expert in the field. You don't have to accept that I was an expert, but the people in the City and on Wall Street who were paying a 24 year old 6 figures thought so, and kept increasing my pay each time I talked about leaving.

But I don't need to rely on personal anecdotes, I have provided examples of other famous amateur scientists who have made very important discoveries, including, as Kattalus has pointed out, even in the field of medicine.
posted by PigAlien at 12:10 PM on June 2, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to add that there's a clear pattern throughout history of amateur scientists making important discoveries. Here's an article on just 5 of them...

You had hinted at this in your earlier posts. I had hoped you wouldn't actually claim it. This notion of the lone actor is a myth. Scientific discoveries by their very nature are community-driven.

This obsession with the brilliant basement chemist whose findings were laughed out of The Academy ... oh they laughed... THEY LAUGHED.... is completely ridiculous. Holding such an idea belies an intellectual dishonesty and a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works, why it works, and how society ultimately benefits from its progress.
posted by odinsdream at 12:11 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Wiley has been involved in this subject for 13 years, longer than it would have taken her to go through medical school.

Or get any number of actual degrees, for that matter.

In other words, there was plenty of time for her to have done so, especially once she started making money.

Self-taught experts have been known to learn a thing or two when they go back to school. More often than not, they know why something they've always known is true really is true.

That's also where they can make actual contributions to a particular (or even unrelated) field - their perspectives are multiple and varied and they can see patterns that someone who's only done $particular_field_of_study is incapable of seeing.

In my book someone who's not an expert and who doesn't go back to learn - even after they have the time and money to do so - just doesn't want to live the life of a humble student. Or be proven wrong. Or both.
posted by lysdexic at 12:14 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


You don't have to be a brilliant, historical scientist to make some difference in a field. The point I'm making is that there is room for amateurs to make a difference, but people here are completely dismissing Wiley for a variety of reasons, among them that she does not have a degree.

Also, for all of you complaining about experimenting on human subjects, the research on BHRT is being participated in by scientists and doctors, not just Wiley. She's not the only one engaging in this research. On top of that, the documented, published, scientific evidence doesn't exist for either case - harmful or helpful. Also, those who are participating in this therapy are aware of this situation and do so freely of their own wills.
posted by PigAlien at 12:15 PM on June 2, 2009


"This notion of the lone actor is a myth. Scientific discoveries by their very nature are community-driven."

Who claims Wiley is acting alone?
posted by PigAlien at 12:17 PM on June 2, 2009


"In my book someone who's not an expert and who doesn't go back to learn - even after they have the time and money to do so - just doesn't want to live the life of a humble student. Or be proven wrong. Or both."

It's a good thing no one has to live by your book then, isn't it? I prefer to live by my own, and I'm sure Wiley and her son prefer to live by theirs. If people would like to read MY book, they're welcome, but I certainly don't try and write theirs for them or shove my book down their throat.
posted by PigAlien at 12:19 PM on June 2, 2009


"but the people in the City and on Wall Street who were paying a 24 year old 6 figures thought so, and kept increasing my pay each time I talked about leaving."

People on Wall Street are 100 percent accurate at valuing technology and their own work.
posted by klangklangston at 12:21 PM on June 2, 2009 [13 favorites]


Who claims Wiley is acting alone?

Perhaps you could link to her peer-reviewed research.
posted by odinsdream at 12:23 PM on June 2, 2009


The point I'm making is that there is room for amateurs to make a difference, but people here are completely dismissing Wiley for a variety of reasons, among them that she does not have a degree.

No, people are dismissing her because she practices bad science.
posted by odinsdream at 12:24 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


"th[is] is the most wes butan comment on all of metafilter," Optimus Chyme

Actually, this is.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:26 PM on June 2, 2009


Anyone keeping track of the "medical discoveries made by lone amateurs working outside of peer scrutiny" vs "medical discoveries made within the various rubrics of professional, journaled academia"? Who's winning?
posted by dirtdirt at 12:31 PM on June 2, 2009


Fine, klangklangston, you are correct, as a general statement, it cannot be held that all people who work on wall street are capable of evaluating who is an expert and who isn't. Then again, I am not bothered by whether you believe I am an expert or not. In fact, I retract my claim. However, I still stand by my statement that one does not need a degree to be an expert. Can you disprove that?
posted by PigAlien at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2009


Thank God this Jake e-LaLa business served to distract the community from my drunken pyropathetics in the autism thread. Of course, I haven't revisited said thread since, which I liken to not returning the following morning to the corner outside the bar where you vomited and yelled at a cop without cause. In short: I'm sorry for being such a dick.

That said: my mom has a miracle cure. MeMail for details and subscription rates.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:32 PM on June 2, 2009


odinsdream: No, people are dismissing her because she practices bad science.

Yeah, if her theories were a lot less crackpot-sounding then her amateurness would be, at worst, a sideshow. But they do seem like quackery so her lack of credentials become an issue. This is especially serious since she is charging for the services she provides based on her theory.

Crackpots aren't limited to the non-degreed. Fred Hoyle is a notable example. There are plenty of Nobel Laureates who have gone on to proclaim or endorse nonsense science.
posted by Kattullus at 12:35 PM on June 2, 2009


Odinsdream, I do believe that the peer-reviewed science on cyclical BHRT is still not there... I could hardly call that 'bad science', since it doesn't exist yet. People are, however, working on such peer-reviewed research. Do you dispute this? Can you also categorically state that there are no degreed scientists and doctors working on this? That is the only way you can dismiss Wiley as a lone actor.
posted by PigAlien at 12:36 PM on June 2, 2009


So, dirtdirt, you're saying that because most of the discoveries in scientists are made by scientists, that it's impossible for non-scientists to participate in the scientific process, and also impossible for them to have insight and to make discoveries?
posted by PigAlien at 12:40 PM on June 2, 2009


"... most of the discoveries in science..."
posted by PigAlien at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2009


Is this where I talk about Dr. Paul?
posted by maxwelton at 12:41 PM on June 2, 2009


Hey, this guy's a Chewley's Gum Representative.
You oughta be ashamed of yourselves. Bunch of easily-led automatons. Try thinking for yourselves before you pelt an innocent vagina with hormones.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:44 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Either that or you live a very different life than most librarians.

I think that goes without saying.

and yet here I am
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:51 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Wiley has been involved in this subject for 13 years, longer than it would have taken her to go through medical school...

But she didn't go to medical school, did she? And if degrees aren't important, why did she lie about getting one?

I think your argument boils down to "Hey, I don't have a degree with computers, yet I know about a lot about them and companies have paid well for my knowledge." That's great, but the human body is a little different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2009


you're saying that because most of the discoveries in scientists are made by scientists, that it's impossible for non-scientists to participate in the scientific process, and also impossible for them to have insight and to make discoveries?

Not at all. First off I was very careful to say "medical discoveries" because I think the field of medicine, at this point, is technological and complex to the point where a dilettante cannot successfully navigate it. Second, I am not saying that such discoveries are impossible, only that they are very very unlikely, and the existence of a few outliers can not for one second be seen as evidence that fighting the flow of scientific discovery is going to yield results. It just doesn't make sense.

I'm not saying that science, or even medical science, is without flaw, but I am saying that, flaws and all, there's a good reason that successful scientists tend to follow a pretty well established set of protocols, and going against them willy-nilly does not set a person up for success.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:57 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


It's a good thing no one has to live by your book then, isn't it? I prefer to live by my own

Bully for you. Remember that when some kid with a degree becomes your boss and gets way more than you because of that little bit of paper.

Nobody has to live by "my book", but a degree is a generally reliable indicator that a person can follow through with a major, difficult, and rewarding course of study. Sign of good faith and all that.


programming rant:

Of course you can learn programming at 16 and make oodles of money at 24 because you can understand arcane syntax in a language or pick up a new one and hack out something that looks pretty. What people pay uber-oodles of money for in programming is the ability to solve problems efficiently, or to clean up someone else's mess.

/programming rant
posted by lysdexic at 1:03 PM on June 2, 2009


PigAlien, professionally, I've had contact with far more than my fair share of self-taught eccentric researchers, and although they all believe they are the next Edison, the sad truth is that 99% of them is simply fucking clueless. I'm certainly not an expert in biochemistry or medicine, but it was pretty obvious to me that Jakealele's claims on BHRT had a high content of TEH CRAZY ("It grows on trees!" So do a lot of poisons, kid).

Whether quacks believe in their own bullshit or not is inmaterial:the point is that they enrich themselves (and Wiley certainly seems to be doing quite well for herself) putting their "patients" at risk. I'm all for setting strict ethical requirements to pharmaceutical research, just not only for the big multinationals.
posted by Skeptic at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I do believe that the peer-reviewed science on cyclical BHRT is still not there... I could hardly call that 'bad science', since it doesn't exist yet. People are, however, working on such peer-reviewed research

Good Science (via Wikipedia):

- Getting approval by an IRB, or ethics board, before any medical research can begin.
- Performing clinical trials to test the safety and effectiveness of new untested medical treatments.
- Having those clinical trials closely monitored and supervised by appropriate regulatory authorities.
- Paying volunteers to participate in early trials.
- Taking many precautions for their safety (such as only allowing healthy people to participate).

Bad Science:

- Doing research without the approval of any ethics board or IRB.
- Skipping any kind of early safety testing and going straight to Phase II trials using dangerous dosage levels.
- Performing the trials with no outside oversight.
- Having the participants of the study pay for the treatment to fund the study and make it profitable.
- Allowing anyone who is willing to pay for the treatment to participate.

Guess which one Wiley is using?
posted by burnmp3s at 1:16 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


PigAlien: You are manufacturing out of whole cloth an idea that there is some cabal of Elite Scientists hell-bent on making sure non-scientists don't participate in the process, thereby excluding their otherwise potentially valuable contributions. This is not the case, but it is a meme that seems to hold a lot of sway emotionally. It's the intoxicating myth of the potential for any one person to stumble upon greatness if they're just lucky enough.

Good hard science, by definition, requires strong participation with other scientists who independently perform the same experiments you've published and compare their results to yours. The problem is not limited to this particular person. The problem is this lack of understanding, which you are demonstrating, of how science actually functions when it is working well. Scientific methods are not applied out of some blind allegiance - but because they work. They produce verifiable, repeatable, testable results from which we, as a species, expand our understanding of the world in very real, concrete terms.

Good science is hard work with lots of failures - each of which is tremendously valuable to, even welcomed by, the process. That Wiley ties her personal success so thoroughly to the success of her "theory" should lead you to question the merits of her work, even if she was an accredited scientist.
posted by odinsdream at 1:16 PM on June 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


It's times like these that make me think the mods need some special warning message/flag/email/whatever to let them know when a person joins the site and begins posting immediately. Might be able to cut down on some of these train-wrecks that we all love so much.

Or it could point them to things like this.
posted by educatedslacker at 1:19 PM on June 2, 2009


I don't personally care whether the snakeoil salespeople have degrees in biochemistry or not. I care that they are getting very wealthy selling snake oil without having first proved the efficacy of their claims. Whether they know how to apply the scientific method is of less importance than that they didn't sufficiently attempt to do so before exposing the public to their product on a massive scale. This is fraud, whether snake oil eventually proves to be a miracle drug or not.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:20 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


lysdexic, I happen to be a kid with multiple degrees, and I have also always worked for myself. Now I own my own business. Even as a consultant, I was still my own boss, providing services to a client. The client was never my 'boss', and I did leave jobs when I wasn't pleased with the working environment or the assignment. I was hired specifically for my problem solving abilities. In fact, I passed up the opportunity for a very high-level job at a major international financial institution (and I do not mean a private corporation) when I was 22 so that I could get my Master's degree -- and NOT in computer science. My boss was the chief of Budget Operations for the institution and was in the tier of executive management directly below the Director. He thought I was a fool for passing up the opportunity -- he said so directly to my face -- but my education was more important to me than money. He still kept me on part-time as I went through school and was disappointed to see me leave. No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

I have also gone back to school multiple times for continuing education and am required to take continuing education for my professional licensing requirements in my current industry. Nonetheless, I do not believe it is impossible for those without degrees to be knowledgeable and accomplished.

Do you all here seriously mean to say that the doctors who attend Wiley's seminars and who administer her protocol are all ignorant quacks? The licensing boards of the states that have given her accreditation to teach CME don't know what they're talking about? That these doctors who attend her CME and hear what she has to say, and, based on their knowledge of the subject, their years of learning and their own personal experience, don't stand up and say, "Woman, you're a quack! I want my money back, and I'm reporting you to the medical board for your nonsense, and you should have your CME accreditation stripped!"?

Wiley has a list of dozens of licensed, medical professionals on her website who all can administer her protocol. Do you dismiss all of them as quacks? I'm sure there are thousands of quack doctors around, but you can't dismiss them for their credentials like you have Wiley. And, do you really think that not a single one of them might not be a quack?
posted by PigAlien at 1:23 PM on June 2, 2009


Wiley has a list of dozens of licensed, medical professionals on her website who all can administer her protocol. Do you dismiss all of them as quacks?

Not at all. I'm sure some of them are shills.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:29 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


Jesus, that thread has a creepy Norman Bates feel to it, no? I think someone is far too in love with mommy.
posted by heyho at 1:31 PM on June 2, 2009


Not at all. I'm sure some of them are shills.

How many shills are there to the quack?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 1:33 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, the combination of bluster and special pleading in Pig Alien's comments make me suspect that he's in on the scam too. Maybe he's Neil Raden?
posted by nasreddin at 1:34 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, he's been here a while, so probably not. But he's about to outdo jakeelala, I think.
posted by nasreddin at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2009


Hahaha, thanks, nasreddin, you really do me too much credit. How I wouldn't love to be in on the scam! Well, you know, the most reasoned response to an argument is to attack the person making the argument. In this case, you'll turn up empty handed; I'm just a lonely boy sitting at his computer in the midwest, with no personal interest in this matter. Keep trying, though.
posted by PigAlien at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2009


palliser: " We have to -- what -- seriously consider that some non-licensed, non-degreed person who claims themselves as a "published research scientist" and is selling cooter-shooters may, indeed, turn out to be some kind of brilliant autodidact?"

Odd. That's the second post I've seen today that used both "autodidact" and "cooter-shooter".
posted by Joe Beese at 1:40 PM on June 2, 2009


Do you all here seriously mean to say that the doctors who attend Wiley's seminars and who administer her protocol are all ignorant quacks?

It's possible for individual doctors to be, wrong and have different standards in how they treat people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:42 PM on June 2, 2009


Re: The treatment that Jakeelala got:

1) Soon after his first post, Jakeela began to make what appeared to be coy digs at folks for their apparent lack of authority to speak about the subject. (i.e. comments like "I take it you're a biochemist, Inspector?") These, coupled with vague assertions of personal expertise (i.e. "I paid [my $5 mefi membership fee] to make sure someone who actually has some real life insight into the situation got a voice in.") resulted in challenges back. Unsuprisingly. In response, Jakeela brought up his mother.

2) As the thread wore on, Jakeelala did the following things:
a) Largely failed to respond to, or even acknowledge, questions and comments in the thread from biomedical professionals (such as Grouse), unless some degree of agreement with his position was expressed (as by Gaspode.) When called to task for this, upbraided an ignored commenter for his tone.

b) Ascribed all criticism of BHT to either ignorance or to the profit-motives of pharmceutical companies and unfriendly journalists. (In other words, some of the earliest claims of malfeasance came from Jakeelala himself)

c) Without naming her, progressively posted more and more details about his mother (in an apparent attempt to enhance his own authority), so that by about 1:30 p.m. PST, anyone with a shred of curiousity could have figured out how she was in less than 20 keystrokes, even without looking up Jakeelala himself. (In other words, this was essentially an auto-outing.)

More specifically: Jakeela mentioned his mother's senate testimony twice. At that point, his mother's identity had become a monstrous elephant in the room, and to my mind, folks were being damned nice about not calling attention to it. However, Jakeelala did nothing to facilitate that niceness. Instead of quieting down, instead of talking about specifics of his own training and research, he continued to reference his mother's exploits. Then, long about 4:00 p.m. my time, he linked to his mother's website as a source of good information, without disclosing his connection to it. I'm sorry, but I can't conceive of a reading of that as anything other than baldly dishonest. And once the self-link was posted, again I'm sorry, but Jakeelala's identity and his mother's were more than fair game. It's pretty damned hard to ignore the elephant in the room when said pachyderm's owner slaps a Dumbo video in the VCR and then bounces up and down singing "Nella the Elephant Packed her Trunk and Said Goodbye to the Circus."

As far as the distinction between Big Pharma and a mom-and-pop amateur shop like The Wiley Protocol goes:

Of course there are greedy and unethical folks in big pharma. There are also greedy and unethical folks in plumbing, in drywalling, in organic farming, and in the clergy. And sure, money, power, and the corporate veil can serve to facilitate greed.

But corporations do not have a monopoly on unethical behavior, and there's no reason to give T.S. Wiley and Co. a pass just because they're working in an arena where bigger assholes exist. Wiley and her group have already demonstrated an ability to hurt people. That's more than enough reason to take them to task, along with any associated shills and hangers-on.

And on the subject of amateur science generally:

I agree that there is a place in the world (indeed, an important place) for amateur science. The contributions of certain amateur astronomers were recently (and rightly) celebrated in the blue. My local mycological society consistently does valuable and interesting research that, without them, might go undone for lack of funding. That's all wonderful stuff, and I'd like to see more of it in the world, not less.

But professionalism is hugely important, especially when lives are at stake. One of the many valuable traits one picks up in professional training is reticence. If you look at IANAL and IANAD-type threads on askme, you'll see that the assembled doctors and attorneys generally take care to note any limitations in their backgrounds that might affect their ability to answer the questions posed. It's not just about malpractice (though of course, that's always a concern): It's about not holding yourself out as being something you're not, and about giving people the tools they need to evaluate your advice.

The most charitable reading I can give T.S. Wiley's self-presentation is that she's a charismatic and enthusiastic beginner with no sense of professional reticence. She overstates her qualifications because she never had occasion to learn to abhore that kind of posturing. She presumes to promulgate a protocol without formal training, because she doesn't know enough to understand how thorny her questions are. She's a menace, in other words, and even if she's an honest menace, I think that our site did well to give her work and her organization the well-referenced smackdown they got.

On preview: Re: the doctors who use Wiley's protocol: Just as the educated don't have a monopoly on intelligence, the uneducated don't have a monopoly on stupidity*.

*And I'll be completely honest here, I think Wiley's an idiot. I base this belief, not on her CV or on the video clips posted on this site, but on her senate testimony, which I read yesterday. The page for her hearing is here, though I'm getting a 404 for the actual pdf right now. Presumably, that will resolve itself shortly.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2009 [46 favorites]


How many shills are there to the quack?

You always want more quacks than shills, because shills get a cut. Thus, the proper ratio of quacks to shills is (quacks + shills) / quacks = quacks / shills = φ ~ 1.6180339887. This is known as the golden ratio, for obvious reasons.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:47 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


PigAlien: "Hahaha, thanks, nasreddin, you really do me too much credit."

he said, twisting his handlebar mustache.
posted by shmegegge at 1:50 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm just a lonely boy sitting at his computer in the midwest, with no personal interest in this matter.

Don't sell yourself short. You happen to be a kid with multiple degrees, and you have also always worked for yourself. Now you own your own business. Even as a consultant, you were still your own boss, providing services to a client. The client was never your 'boss', and you did leave jobs when you weren't pleased with the working environment or the assignment. You were hired specifically for your problem solving abilities. In fact, you passed up the opportunity for a very high-level job at a major international financial institution (and you do not mean a private corporation) when you were 22 so that you could get your Master's degree -- and NOT in computer science. Your boss was the chief of Budget Operations for the institution and was in the tier of executive management directly below the Director. He thought you were a fool for passing up the opportunity -- he said so directly to your face -- but your education was more important to you than money. He still kept you on part-time as you went through school and was disappointed to see you leave. No one will tell you what you can or can't do. You live your life by your rules, and no one else's.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:53 PM on June 2, 2009 [36 favorites]


If PigAlien thinks people were hard on jakaleela in that thread, they should see a typical lab meeting. Scientists barely respect each other's expertise, nevermind that of some pseudo-anonymous poster on the internet. In short, we expect people to back up their statements or stop wasting our damn time.
posted by Hutch at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


How many shills are there to the quack?

The EU banned shills and quacks several years ago, you have to use metric deception now.
posted by MikeMc at 1:57 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


How many shills are there to the quack?

It depends on whether they are top, strange, bottom, charm, up or down quacks. Or Richard Benjamin.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2009


ROFLMAO! I love Metafilter. Thanks, Optimus, my self-esteem had taken a momentary dive there, but it was restored by your gentle reminder of my accomplishments!
posted by PigAlien at 2:00 PM on June 2, 2009


Wow! Wiley's Senate testimony is hilarious... and then you remember that people take this seriously. Here are some choice bits from the 5 pages I've read so far:

"It is anecdotal common knowledge that older people wander around all night limping and bumping into things when they should be out like a light."

"[Pat] Wingert and [Barbara] Kantrowitz, ostensibly women themselves, oddly have written an article blaming women for not being resilient enough to tough it out without HRT."

"Generations of women (and men) before us knew forty was almost “old” and fifty was as close to sixty as it was to forty. Most of our parents had children in their twenties when they were our age. We knew they were old. How do we continue to deny how old we really are?"

"Not even. Menopause is certainly not “natural.” There is no menopause in nature. They never mention that on Lifetime. You’ll get more accurate scientific reporting on Animal Planet. The animals always die when they’re no longer reproductive."

"Her judgment flags, her spirits plummet, her immune system freaks out, homeostasis goes out the window and she goes not so gentle into that goodnight, unless someone does the right thing and pushes her out to sea on an ice floe for the good of the “group”." [I believe this is a joke, but I'm not entirely sure.]

"As was alluded to in the beginning of this testimony, the mortality and morbidity of menopause is substantial, as substantial as it is being elderly. Young people very, very 6 rarely experience heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Old people very, very often do."
posted by Kattullus at 2:00 PM on June 2, 2009 [8 favorites]


"You happen to be a kid with multiple degrees, and you have also always worked for yourself. Now you own your own business."

Plus the two foot penises.

Seriously, gotta say, I love going back to school any chance I get. Buddy of mine was one of those "I read the book - why do I need to go to school?" types. Guy was - is - a genius. Just dirt poor and didn't really get the whole "you need the paper" thing. I'm actually surprised how many of those types of people there are. In his case, he had no clue how smart he was (he now has two advanced degrees and is a very highly paid engineer/consultant/math guy - whatever) and hated school (they thought he was dumb, but he was just completely unchallenged, school moved way too slow for him).
But there are people who can't stand the didactic nature of it, etc. - lot of schools aren't like that anymore and are well suited to highly motivated learners.

Of course, for each one of those you've got 20 or 30 Kevin Trudeau types.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2009


"However, I still stand by my statement that one does not need a degree to be an expert. Can you disprove that?"

Define expert and I'll tell you whether I can disprove it.

"Expert" is a fuzzy thing, and evaluating who is and who is not expert within a field is often controversial and difficult without also being involved in the field. Someone could style themselves an expert on, say, hormonal replacement, and be able to put forth a credible presentation that would be denounced as misleading and dangerous by other experts in the field, thus rendering the "expert" opinion rather unconvincing.
posted by klangklangston at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2009


Forty years old. Jesus, that's almost eighty years old!
posted by Smedleyman at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can also read some additional testimony by TS Wiley here (scroll down nearly to the end or search for her name to get to her part).
posted by jedicus at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2009


Good lord. I'm about ready to register infiniteMeTa.org so a group of likeminded individuals and I can read and discuss this thread over the course of the Summer.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:20 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

Oh yeah? I'd like to see you put a self-link on the front page. Then you'll see what rules you're really playing by.
posted by turaho at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

Great, nobody said you shouldn't. We all should.

Why was your education so important that you passed up all that money? I think it's great that you did. I'd call you the opposite of someone like Wiley, who did the exact opposite. That's what I object to.

I've got a 'euff' opinion of jakeelala. IOW, i either said 'euff' out loud or in my head whenever he posted. I see that kind of verbiage about big pharma and "allopathic" medicine that make me roll my eyes all the friggin' time on some of my mommy lists.

As for doctors that use compounding pharmacies or the Wiley Protocol (does that need the © thingie?) Well, they're doctors, and presumably can follow their patients with more dilligence than the Wileys. At least I hope they do.

You always want more quacks than shills, because shills get a cut. Thus, the proper ratio of quacks to shills is (quacks + shills) / quacks = quacks / shills = φ ~ 1.6180339887. This is known as the golden ratio, for obvious reasons.

How does 'guru' fit in?
posted by lysdexic at 2:29 PM on June 2, 2009


metafilter: scroll down nearly to the end.

And, I think it should be anInfiniteMeTaJest.org
posted by cjorgensen at 2:30 PM on June 2, 2009


Of course, I haven't revisited said thread since, which I liken to not returning the following morning to the corner outside the bar where you vomited and yelled at a cop without cause. In short: I'm sorry for being such a dick.

Why don't you stick your apology where it belongs, joe lisboa.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:31 PM on June 2, 2009


No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

hey, who let the drunken sophomores in doors t-shirts in? i thought this was a private party.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 PM on June 2, 2009


re: Senate testimony:

oooo! oooo! I finally get to use this!
posted by lysdexic at 2:32 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


MeFi Apology Police!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:32 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the Rhythmic Living website, apparently a recovery group for women who tried the Wiley Protocol with ill effects, an interview with Dr. Bent Formby (PhD), Wiley's onetime co-author:
LM: The women who have been trying to do the Wiley Protocol, that is also the dosing schedule in the appendix of Sex, Lies and Menopause, have found that during the progesterone phase we have experienced symptoms such as weight gain, edema, constipation, headache, extreme sedation, hip pain, distended abdomen, interrupted sleep, puffy face, acne, whiskers, hair loss, heart palpitations, anxiety, itching, immune suppression, sore breasts, muscle wasting, lethargy, linea negra and more. We suspect that this is a result first-off of progesterone overdose and we are interested in your comments on this.

DrBF: I wrote that book with TS Wiley, as you know, together with Dr. Taguchi, who is an oncologist in town and actually participated in the work because of her own interest in reproductive hormones and in the field, so for the book I researched and organized all the scientific information which I explained and discussed with TS Wiley so she could write it into a layman’s text. When we came to a treatment protocol, which was somewhat laid out in the book, you know, how do you use these bioidentical hormones in correct doses. So, because there were relatively few scientific studies reported in the literature at that time my opinion was that we could not suggest a protocol with doses before proven correct in a clinical trial. So my concern was that without having performed a clinical trial it would basically be an undocumented protocol I would not take responsibility for. I suggested a small trial which could be run for a period of six months. You line up a group of menopausal women, then you have a control group and then you treat them with the protocol. Do the pharmokenetics - all these basic things to get an knowledge of how it works. Anyway, there was no interest in doing a trial - no interest in doing that by TS Wiley - so I just dropped out.
...
LM: So if we have all these symptoms, well - now that we’re not doing it, we still want to know what happened. It makes us very thirsty, we urinate a lot, we gain weight, we have hair loss, develop whiskers, some women are getting upper respiratory infections, sore breasts…

DrBF: What happens is that, as we talked about before, the reason, one of the major reasons for having the huge production of progesterone during pregnancy is that the pregnancy is basically, if you look at the immunology of pregnancy, like having a transplant. The fetus is a transplant, it is from an immunological point-of-view, non-compatible with the mother, so basically it should be rejected like a skin graft or a kidney or lung that is not compatible. Mother and her fetus are non-compatible. In order to protect the fetus from being rejected the mothers immune system must be suppressed. That’s how progesterone works. Progesterone strongly suppresses the cellular immune system involving B and T lymphocytes. Cellular immunity is the arm of our immune system that fight back mainly viral infections in contrast to bacteria infections that is attacked by macrophages, neutrophiles from the innate arm of the immune system. That means that if you take too much progesterone you become immune suppressed which means if you get any kind of infection your immune T cells are downregulated and cannot fight off foreign viral invades. That’s why you are prone to upper respiratory problems - get more colds and flu like symptoms, because you are immune suppressed. It is a very unhealthy situation.

...

LM: People are under the impression that this protocol would protect them from cancer or that it’s a good thing to do when they’ve got cancer and I would like to address the background where you explored progesterone with cancer.

DrBF: Well, you have to realize that in science, all creative ideas are first tested in the laboratory. We work in the research laboratory for years to test out these different kinds of projects using isolated cells in simple experimental culture systems. The next thing you do is transfer the experience from the cellular experiments to simple animal models. You may transplant tumor tissue into these animals and then treat the animals with progesterone. I got into that. I discovered that progesterone at the single cell level destroy breast tumor cells. But we have yet no clinical evidence to suggest that progesterone prevents or cures breast cancer, albeit we have some anecdotal evidence. It’s all studies waiting to be done. I think they are exciting, they should be done, but it’s still a long way to go before we can say anything about the efficacy of using progesterone in the treatment of ovarian or breast cancer patients.
posted by jenkinsEar at 2:36 PM on June 2, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm truly sorry, Joe Lisboa, but I now have to skip over the autism thread so that I can review the grotesquerie. I'm sure you understand. . . .
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:37 PM on June 2, 2009


Jody Tresidder: "Why don't you stick your apology where it belongs, joe lisboa."

Next to the potato!
posted by shmegegge at 2:41 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


[As a middle-aged woman...]

No. No no no. And no. You're a couple years younger than I and there's no fucking way that I'm middle-aged.
posted by deborah at 2:55 PM on June 2, 2009


middle-aged is the new thirtysomething.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:56 PM on June 2, 2009


If PigAlien thinks people were hard on jakaleela in that thread, they should see a typical lab meeting. Scientists barely respect each other's expertise, nevermind that of some pseudo-anonymous poster on the internet.

No kidding. If this guy can't cope with a little online disdain, he's just going to love med school.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:56 PM on June 2, 2009


Thus, the proper ratio of quacks to shills is (quacks + shills) / quacks = quacks / shills = φ ~ 1.6180339887. This is known as the golden ratio, for obvious reasons.

See also Snake Euler's Constant, Huckster's Number.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:00 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


middle-aged is the new thirtysomething.

Ack. If I have to be Tim Busfield, can I at least be Danny Concannon on the West Wing?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:01 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also the I Have A Cunning Planck Constant.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:02 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also:

- Advocato's Number
- The Pythagorean Serum
- Used Cartesian Salesman Coordinates
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:04 PM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


            uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu                                    
          u" uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu "u                                  
        u" u$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$u "u       
      u" u$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$u "u                              
    u" u$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$u "u                            
  u" u$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$u "u                          
u" u$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$u "u                        
$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $                        
$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $                        
$ $$$" ... "$...  ...$" ... "$$$  ... "$$$ $                        
$ $$$u `"$$$$$$$  $$$  $$$$$  $$  $$$  $$$ $                        
$ $$$$$$uu "$$$$  $$$  $$$$$  $$  """ u$$$ $                        
$ $$$""$$$  $$$$  $$$u "$$$" u$$  $$$$$$$$ $                        
$ $$$$....,$$$$$..$$$$$....,$$$$..$$$$$$$$ $                        
$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ $                        
"u "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" u"                        
  "u "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" u"                          
    "u "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" u"                            
      "u "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" u"                              
        "u "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" u"                                
          "u """""""""""""""""" u"                                  
            """"""""""""""""""""                                    
posted by netbros at 3:17 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Aw, netbros, cortex was just getting started with the puns.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:19 PM on June 2, 2009


- Pascal's Pyramid Scheme
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:23 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


"HURF DURF NEEDLE IN THE VAJAYJAY"

One of Elliott Smith's lesser-known early demos.
posted by ocha-no-mizu at 3:28 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


I Know Far More About This Subject Than I Think You Can Imagine.

American Apparel, men's and women's size. These are being sold at cost.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:33 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


Woah, ok, that interview, in conjunction with her incredible Senate testimony, have pushed this matter entirely over the line in my mind. I am no longer amused, and enough with the the apologetics and the hemming and hawing over jakeleelala's treatment here. This shit is downright criminal, or at the very least wrong wrong wrong. T.S. Wiley is making people sick, and sick people sicker. This isn't about what qualifies as acceptable science, this is about experimenting with your hypothetical theories directly on desperate people, at their expense.
posted by kaspen at 3:35 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I had some delicious linea negra at the tapas place down the street.
posted by lore at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to add that there's a clear pattern throughout history of amateur scientists making important discoveries.

Granted. But there is a big difference between making discoveries and making declarations.

For example, I discovered that dialyzing into Phosphate Buffered Saline at pH 7.4 caused me to loose bands in my gel, but centrifugation at 10,000 RPMs didn't. I'm going to call that good. If I ran up and down the hall announcing that "3000 Molecular Weight Cut Off membranes will kill you and EVERYTHING YOU LOVE!" That goes in the bad basket.

As for the implication that It's impossible for non-scientists to participate in the scientific process, and also impossible for them to have insight and to make discoveries?

If you are participating in the scientific process then you are a scientist. Q.E.D. Some variation on that that whole observation, hypothesis, experiment, collect data thing is the key. If you don't have that, you're in a discipline I call "making shit up". If you keep telling me you did the experimetn and have the data but I never get to see it, well, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but that's usually the way to bet.

As for degrees - my degree is not in biochemistry! Every so often I abuse my biologist colleagues by saying things like, "I had 'dis many hours of biology in school!" and holding up two fingers on one hand and one on the other." or tapping my boss on the shoulder during a lengthy presentation were some cell line is being described and saying something like, "Wake me up if zwitterions come up."

If you don't have a degree, or even if you do, don't say things that fly right in the face of fundamentals and expect anyone to take you terribly seriously. Do you think MetaFilter is the first place I've used the like about making baby Friedrich Wöhler cry?

No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

You can't make an isolated system in which the entropy does not increase over time. Life is like that.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:39 PM on June 2, 2009 [20 favorites]


jessamyn: "middle-aged is the new thirtysomething."

There came a day when I realized that I was older than Michael Steadman.

That was a dark day.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:56 PM on June 2, 2009


dirtdirt wrote: Anyone keeping track of the "medical discoveries made by lone amateurs working outside of peer scrutiny" vs "medical discoveries made within the various rubrics of professional, journaled academia"? Who's winning?

PigAlien had a good start and came out with some powerful swings, but it was clear to anyone with a brain that his position was manifestly indefensible and therefore would demonstrate a mix of bitter rear-guard actions and wild, pointless attacks to confuse and distract the opposition. He was further weakened by a stubborn belief that his tenure as an overpaid electron-pusher gave him an essential insight into medical credentials and outsider science, and rather than abandon this weak point in his argument, he chose to defend it until his comments seemed to be mainly about whipping out his dick and stroking it in public, courting a very gentle but thorough mocking which he accepted in good humor.

Now the argument is over except for some people chasing loose threads that they are misattributing, while meanwhile some asshole will come along and do a pretentious summary in subtle mockery of cortex which no one will get, but all the better since it won't be very good anyway.
posted by fleacircus at 3:57 PM on June 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


Any legitimately credentialed pretentious summary would without question contain the word "drivel".
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:08 PM on June 2, 2009


Pffft. Only old people say drivel.

U R OLD
posted by GuyZero at 4:13 PM on June 2, 2009


You can say "drivel." Just be sure to squirt some bio-identical "skeeves" and "bitchez plz" up your privates immediately afterward.
posted by palliser at 4:40 PM on June 2, 2009


#drivel
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on June 2, 2009


If you are participating in the scientific process then you are a scientist. Q.E.D.

Said much better than I put it. Thanks. That really highlights the absurdity of the "scientific cabal vs outsider" concept. If you're doing science, welcome - now where's your data.
posted by odinsdream at 4:52 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Why are people hating on drivel? It's a perfectly fine word for- OW damnit my hip.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:25 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


It sounds to me like the basis for next month's Mefi Music challenge.

Doo-da-lang, doo-da-lang,
Doo-da-lang, doo-da-lang,
Well well, I once believed all Mefites were nice
But girls, listen to me, take my advice
Men, you'd better get yourselves outta our way,
Cause HRT treatment, girls, is all havin' to have a
Needle in a va-jay-jay
What did I say, girls?
Needle in a va-jay-jay
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:38 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I Know Far More About This Subject Than I Think You Can Imagine.

Pfff, that's nothing. I know WAY more about it than is even true!
posted by aubilenon at 5:45 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needle in the va-jay
please talk free
The door is locked
just you and me.
Can I take you to a restaurant
that's got glass tables
You can watch yourself
while you're injecting.

Needle in the va-jay
I just can't stop it,
Every Saturday you see me
window shopping.
Find no interest in the
racks and shelves
Just a thousand injections
of my own sweet self, self, self...

Needle in the va-jay
You're my needle in the va-jay
You're my needle in the va-jay
You're my needle in the va-jay...

Needle in the va-jay
retributes
For all my crimes
of self abuse.
Cures you whisper
make no sense
Drift gently into
heroin stillness.

Needle in the va-jay
please talk free
The door is locked
just you and me.
Can I take you to a restaurant
that's got glass tables
You can watch yourself
while you're injecting.

Needle in the va-jay
Needle in the va-jay...
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:03 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


I missed out on the Givewell drama. This has kind of made up for it.
posted by Jilder at 6:20 PM on June 2, 2009


I think it is funny how, when jakeelala was explaining why he jumped into the thread in the first place, he said, "I mostly wanted you to know no one was injecting syringes of hormones into their vaginas. that was ludicrous."

I don't understand why a man --- someone who is not even a potential beneficiary of this treatment --- is so eager to set the record straight about the method of delivery of these hormones. So what if people are injecting syringes of hormones into their vaginas? Why did he care so much?

But no, he had to rush over here and proclaim, "It's a turkey baster full of estrogen cream, people! Not a syringe! A syringe would be ludicrous! My mom says that shoving a turkey baster up your chach is perfectly dignified!"
posted by jayder at 6:20 PM on June 2, 2009


I felt like I lost about 30 I.Q. points reading Wiley's testimony (oh noes, it's Teh Menopause!), and didn't gain them back until I read Why Women Change by Jared Diamond.
posted by zinfandel at 6:31 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


This brouhaha has accomplished one thing. I will no longer be using that progesterone cream I was buying at GNC....thanks, Mefi!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:42 PM on June 2, 2009


(for the record, it was not going where Suzanne Somers was...oh heck never mind let's never bring this up again.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:43 PM on June 2, 2009


I blame jakeelala's mother for the fact that I know more than you could imagine about needles in the va-jay-jay. Infinitely more than I ever wanted to know. Does Wiley's have a patented Brain Bleach® they could sell me?

Also, I think my "Lydia E. Pinkham's Patented Protocol® Vegetable Compound" was bloody brilliant wit and I am crushed that no one appears to have notice it.
[sung]
Here's the story - a little bit gory,
A little bit happy, a little bit sad -
Of Lily the Pink and her medicinal compound
And how it drove her to the bad.

So we'll drink a drink a drink
To Lily the pink the pink the pink
The savior of the human race.
She invented medicinal compound
Most efficacious in every case.
Lily the Pink is a third-grade memory. Loved to sing it and One Tin Soldier.

Oh god, I just realized "the pink" is an obvious euphemism. There goes that cherished memory.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:48 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why don't you stick your apology where it belongs, joe lisboa.

In the pipe of good intentions?

Jesus, Jody. I apologized. What more does your fatality-encouraging enabling demand? You make it very hard to be the bigger person.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:57 PM on June 2, 2009


In the pipe of good intentions?

I may be wrong but I think Jody meant "in the original thread"?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:01 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why did he care so much?

But no, he had to rush over here and proclaim, "It's a turkey baster full of estrogen cream, people! Not a syringe! A syringe would be ludicrous! My mom says that shoving a turkey baster up your chach is perfectly dignified!"


To me, this resonated with the 13-year-old theory. In that kids (and I clearly remember doing this) make some mistake about an adult concept or fact, and then on learning the truth, assume that everyone else makes that same mistake, and excitedly act to correct that mistaken impression wherever possible.

If this was the husband, I dunno. Unconvincing excuse, I guess, with a "kids-will-be-kids" cover.

If it was really Aleister Crowley, then we're all probably unwilling pawns in some elaborate Golden Dawn ritual. Suzanne Somers' va-jay-jay was just the focus.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:02 PM on June 2, 2009


I may be wrong but I think Jody meant "in the original thread"?

Jessamyn, I appreciate the interpretation, but I'm not going to humor her ignorant apologetics with a response in the original forum. And that's the last I'll say of it.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:04 PM on June 2, 2009


Drivel is an old person word? That's folderol and poppycock! I've never heard such codswallop, trumpery and outright applesauce in all my years!
posted by lore at 7:35 PM on June 2, 2009 [12 favorites]


"Not even. Menopause is certainly not “natural.” There is no menopause in nature.

*gapes in astonishment*
posted by rtha at 7:36 PM on June 2, 2009


Burhanistan: "But I would caution people who like to jump on the festering hate bandwagons: when you see images of crowds going out of control and think to yourself "What crazy people! Why can't they control themselves?", know that you are probably susceptible to catching the crazy wave and doing something inexcusable yourself. So, to avoid that, remember to just sit down. You can thank me later."

The other side of that argument.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:38 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are we still talking about this? There are more pressing matters. Have you seen this Recent Activity page cortex got me? It is incredible. It is just beautiful. You guys, it is really, just everything I always wanted. I have to say, Thank you MetaFilter, thank you cortex, and a special Thank You to jakelala for triggering the chain of events that led to this magnificent feature. It is a wonderful world, people. A wonderful world. Don't worry about the word 'drivel' or whether or not we should de-anonymize and/or anatomize fools. Just go out there and enjoy the Recent Activity feature! It's on me!
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:00 PM on June 2, 2009 [10 favorites]


We are still talking about this, because half of everything we read on the web is about this. We just can't help ourselves.
posted by zinfandel at 9:00 PM on June 2, 2009


Is this the ugly community we've become that has no concept of 'benefit of the doubt'?

Funny how... passionate some people seem to get about giving flakes and snake oil salesmen the benefit of the doubt, but are in turn quite happy to describe all doctors as "shills for big pharma" and other such delightful phrases.

And, quite frankly, I do cut them much more slack than I cut the large, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies when it comes to motivating factors.

Oh look, there we are.

Well, odinsdream, I AM an expert on computers... That was my point. One does not need a degree to be an expert in the field. You don't have to accept that I was an expert, but the people in the City and on Wall Street who were paying a 24 year old 6 figures thought so, and kept increasing my pay each time I talked about leaving.

All right, who got Slashdot in my Metafilter?

Wiley has a list of dozens of licensed, medical professionals on her website who all can administer her protocol. Do you dismiss all of them as quacks?

Not at all. I'm sure some of them are shills.


You've got it all wrong, IRFH. Doctors are only shills if they prescribe well-reasearched medicines.

I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

Great, nobody said you shouldn't. We all should.


Really? I'm partial to us all driving on the same side of the road, myself. What with the tonnes of high-speed metallic death not coming together in a messy head-on and all.
posted by rodgerd at 9:40 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm partial to us all driving on the same side of the road, myself.

Your just a shill for the center line painting industry.
posted by MikeMc at 10:04 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't believe in " 'e "s.
posted by MikeMc at 10:05 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I Know Far More About This Subject Than I Think You Can Imagine.
American Apparel, men's and women's size. These are being sold at cost.

So it's not copyright infringement if you don't make a profit on it?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:19 PM on June 2, 2009


What I can't understand is how no one snagged this completely awesome user name until now. I AM JACKALOPE!
posted by Jackalope at 11:50 PM on June 2, 2009


Your just a shill for the center line painting industry.

And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling mefites!
posted by rodgerd at 11:57 PM on June 2, 2009


Whether she has the academic training or not is almost a side point for me.

What seems of central concern is that there seem to be a number of individuals who seem to have some serious side effects from this course of treatment, and it doesn't seem as if there is a substantive effort to review their claims and see if there is a correlation between this medication and side effects.

How robust where the clinical trials? What was the diversity of the participant pool? What percentage of participants are experiencing these side effects? Is it related to the course of treatment, or not?

I don't care what letters she has behind her name - and perhaps this treatment is helping some women. But the inability to articulate which women are helped, and which ones should avoid this treatment is disturbing. Also, if it so effective, and she wants the stamp of the establishment, why not put the treatment through it's paces with a phase 1 clinical trial and a IRB review?

It's hard to both pooh-pooh the "system", but then try to be a part of it (by getting some MDs to vouch for it, or trying to deflect about her training). Why would MDs even matter, if the degree - or more importantly, the academic training - doesn't matter?
posted by anitanita at 12:00 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't believe in " 'e "s.

they're just not as strong or pure as they used to be.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:06 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, I'm back from the market, got fresh pop-corn... what'd I miss? Anyone? Quick re-cap?
posted by From Bklyn at 12:24 AM on June 3, 2009


Essentially, the Odones got lucky, but what they did was still wrong, despite what benefit may be derived from it.

yes, but the Odones were basically giving their child an extract from canola and olive oils in his food. Something in just about every kitchen in America and Europe, which most people consume on a regular basis. They also don't claim it to be a cure, but rather a supplement that may lessen symptoms.

I don't think that's nearly the same as instructing people to slather enough hormonal cream on and/or in them to give an entire women's basketball team cancer/strokes/heart attacks just to hold off aging for a few more years.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:10 AM on June 3, 2009


So what if people are injecting syringes of hormones into their vaginas? Why did he care so much?

Well, to be fair - regular genital injections with needles have a fairly huge ick factor. V1@8R@ succeeded because it didnt have that going against it, unlike alprostadil and other previous remedies. If rubbing some cream on my delicate parts helps prevent cancer, I am a hell of a lot more likely to try it than regular spikey things.

I'm not saying anything qualitively about any medicine mentioned or gratuitiously referenced here or above - merely pointing out a psychological issue with differing forms of self-treatment.
posted by Sparx at 2:37 AM on June 3, 2009


In addition, I have a broad interest in many other subjects, as well as life experience, that gives me more than a passing knowledge of many subjects in which I don't have advanced degrees. I was paid well over 6 figures for my knowledge of computers by the time I was 24 years old, even though I had no degree in the subject and had only taken one or two classes.

Oh pshaw. In the late 90s I knew a dozen 20-something kids who were making 100K for wiring office networks and writing little scripts for dot.com websites. I myself became an expert in fine wine starting out as a truck driver for a wine company; I made more money selling wine at 22 than I made again before I was 35 (as a social scientist, because I had to spend a decade getting credentialed, in fact). There are technical skills you can acquire, some of which may have a high value in any given labor market, without a formal education. I know mechanics now, actually, who are not ASE certified and who never went to school for it, who could build a car from parts if they wanted. No one is making a blanket statement here that all worthwhile knowledge is credentialed knowledge.

Medicine is a whole different deal because it is a matter of life and death. Thought experiment: the person about to cut you open (or squirt unknown chemicals s/he insists are safe into your body) not only has no training or degrees in medicine; s/he actively lies even about having an undergraduate degree in an unrelated subject earned 25 years ago.

How happy are you to learn that?

Same person is wiring your home network: who cares?

In the 19th century, and into the early 20th, great medical advances were made by people with limited formal educations in science or medicine because such an education did not yet exist, or existed in very limited and embryonic forms, and because even the basic science was rudimentary in many respects.

To get a job as a network engineer or programmer for a major enterprise now, 10 years on from the dot.com bust and well into the development of credentialing and training programs for these skills, you oftend now *do* have to be certified, degreed, or credentialed to prove you won't fuck up the network or create a huge security hole. If you're not credentialed you have to prove your practical skills are real -- you have to have actually accomplished something. The wiley Wileys have not accomplished anything that has been proved or vetted by anyone, yet they are claiming expertise they *self evidently* do not have (mother and son and dad, as far as I can tell). They are mocking the institutions that ensure medical safety through credentialing requirements to practice medicine (and this isn't just a moral debate; it's illegal to practice medicine without credentials, you know?). And Mama Wiley, at least, has repeatedly claimed to have credentials she doesn't actually possess (so she doesn't think credentials are irrelevant, just that people are credulous, a classic con artist).

I like the Nigerian scammer analogy. Sure, once in a blue moon you really might make a free million bucks by helping someone sneak a suitcase of bearer bonds out of Ibadan. Does that mean you give every spam offering this opportunity your most serious (and polite) consideration? After all, some African kid might really have figured out how to access the hidden wealth of a deposed dictator. (And some of the wealthiest es-dictators in the world never went to school for raping and pillaging a nation.)

To touch on the writing issue again, sure, many trained scientists and doctors don't have excellent grammatical mechanics. But that's not what I mean. I mean that jakelala writes like someone who has never read anything. Big difference. And finally, yeah, let's not call a 27 year old a "kid" out of misplaced sympathy for feckless youth. At 27, some "kids" are doing surgery; others are flying jet fighters. This punk is playing D&D and writing crap on the internet to help his mom make a nice nut.

I don't think it rises to the level of intensity this thread has bestowed on it -- the web is *crawling* with these scammers and fakes and charlatans muddying the waters of rational debate to score cheap marketing points and distract from their lack of credibility. Heck, half of MeFi sometimes seems willing to believe the alt med drivel (hey, I'm 45) that sometimes goes unchallenged on this site (especially in AskMe).

Injecting unproven hormones into your body can cause serious problems, up to and including cancer. It's not a freaking joke.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:32 AM on June 3, 2009 [30 favorites]


Is this the ugly community we've become that has no concept of 'benefit of the doubt'?

No, we've got a really clear concept of doubting the benefits.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:51 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've been been meaning to work through the tutorials in that Learn Biology/Hormone Therapy in 24 hours book.

Forget that one - it's a hard read. Allow me to recommend "Post Menopausal Human Endocrinology for Dummies". A much easier read - you should be able to finish it in under 6 hours.
posted by syzygy at 5:10 AM on June 3, 2009


The classic Monty Python bit:

Another Guide to Home Surgery

[skipped some funny stuff, see all of it here]

I am very pleased to have been asked to introduce this
invaluable article on Teaching Yourself Surgery. First of all, there are
some basic Do's and Don'ts which the home sugeon must remember:

DO's

1) Do remember to tie off the ascending aorta well above the left
ventricle when removing the heart.
2) Do remember to expose the periorbital fascia using a perforator and
then a burr to make the opening through the orbitas and splenoid plates of
the zygomatic bone.
3) Do not use a bread knife.

DON'Ts

1) Remember to wear a hankie over your face (this should have been in the
DO's)
2) Don't try heart-lung transplants if you're going out in the evening.
3) Don't treat me like a fool.
4) Don't attempt circumcisions after you've had a few.

What you will need for home surgery

Table, two chairs, glass of beer, 100W bulb, cotton-wool, forceps, swabs,
waste paper basket, ashtray, sutures, long white coat (cricket flannels
will do), breathing apparatus, sponge, blotting paper, absorbent lint,
towel, old newspapers, greaseproof paper, a sharp knife, flour, 3 lb
potatoes and a record player that takes 78s.

Instructions

N.B. It is very, very important that you follow these instructions. It
may be your own kitchen table and your own grapefruit knife, but you
are still dealing with Human Life.

1) Clear away the tea things.
2) Make absolutely certain (from the 'Parts Of The Body' Chart) that you
know which bit you're going to work on.
3) Undress the patient. (There's nothing rude or dirty about this -
surgeons do it all the time.)
4) Put the cat out.
5) Make the incision.
6) Oh, anaesthetise the patient . . . sorry.
7) Do the surgery.
8) If the cat's come in again - THROW IT OUT!
9) Stitch the patient up - often Granny or an aunt can be doing this while
you're off having a drink.
10) Clear the table and lay the breakfast.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:03 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

You can't make an isolated system in which the entropy does not increase over time. Life is like that.


To be fair, it's entirely possible that he's Rudolf Clausius. Then it's his rule after all.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:01 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


No one will tell me what I can or can't do. I live my life by my rules, and no one else's.

But you would like advice on starting my own business in my late 30s from basically nothing.
posted by nomisxid at 8:55 AM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Turkey basters and uncooked unpeeled anal potatoes and autodidacts, oh my! I would never have expected enjoying this meta thread almost as much as the original one.

The crossness and indignation of respondents in the original thread seems quite easy to identify with; the tone of condescension and authority set by jakeelala is to be expected to raise hackles. However, there remains a question that jessamyn seems to have raised [if i have understood her correctly]; why do the limitations of this online forum seem to facilitate giving in to this crossness and irateness, whereas in meatspace maybe we wouldn't do so quite so easily? Why was it so beckoning, apparently, to unleash a wave of GRAR in response to the stupid lack of disclosure, if not bad faith deception, in the original thread?

I'm not sure whether internet anonymity is such a completely convincing answer. This is insofar as anonymity would presuppose lack of identity or unclear identity, whereas the emotional character of the GRAR responses here, like especially indignation, imply a strong sense of identity (if not a slight against oneself, then a slight against the community within which one has integrated).

As one alternative, I'd suggest something else that might be going on here; namely a sort of frustration in the face of apparent or dissimulated reasonableness, the unmasking of which might require too much of us; too much time, for one thing. I would venture, in other words, a correlative relationship between degree of snark and the insidiousness of what Justin Sanchez nicely identifies as the "one-way hash argument." It is maybe not in the face of the deception itself, but in the face the dismantling of its 'logical' shield, that we get carried away, give way to 'STFU's and strained invecto-typing.
posted by rudster at 9:00 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, those last two comments together are like watching Stewart and Colbert back to back, but in reverse. Comedy gold.
posted by fourcheesemac at 9:05 AM on June 3, 2009


why do the limitations of this online forum seem to facilitate giving in to this crossness and irateness, whereas in meatspace maybe we wouldn't do so quite so easily? Why was it so beckoning, apparently, to unleash a wave of GRAR in response to the stupid lack of disclosure, if not bad faith deception, in the original thread?

Anonymity is usually the go-to answer for this but I don't buy that either. I think the main problem in this case is actually not the limitations of an online forum, but the features of it.

In real life, let's say you're sitting at a bar or other public place talking to your friends about a news article. Some random guy walks up and starts disagreeing with you and your friends, claiming he knows more about the subject than everyone else. The normal response in real life would be to tell the guy to go away, and if he refused you could bet that the situation would get very weird and at worst there could be a physical altercation. I don't think real life people would react any better than commenters did in the thread.

Part of the point is that in real life, situations where a lot of random people who don't know each other talk about contentious issues don't really happen very often. When it does happen, things tend to get heated just like they do online. The fact that MetaFilter is actually relatively difficult to join probably helps in that respect.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2009


like watching Stewart and Colbert back to back, but in reverse. Comedy gold.

Speaking of Colbert, he really had a good time laying into MetaFilter's new best friend Oprah last night.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:51 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


why do the limitations of this online forum seem to facilitate giving in to this crossness and irateness, whereas in meatspace maybe we wouldn't do so quite so easily?

Speak for yourself; if someone came into a conversation about how terrible it was for soi-disant cultural arbiters to offer megaplatforms to out-of-work actors selling dangerous nostrums, and started carrying on about how he his mom was an expert, and Big Pharma was just trying to crush her under its heel, and we were all sheeple because Newsweek is in the pocket of Big Pharma, and PAY NO ATTENTION TO THOSE BIOCHEMISTS AND DOCTORS BEHIND THE CURTAIN!...

..I would rip them a new asshole without a qualm, because that shit puts people's lives at risk. PepsiBlue is just venality--this is venality and narcissism that makes people sick.

And, yeah, I'm 44 myself, and I am starting to think about this menopause thing pretty seriously because it's on the horizon for me in the next few years, so maybe I take this more to heart because these folks are trying to sell me and my friends a dangerous bill of goods.

Or, you know, I'm just cranky because I'm, er, not yet menopausal, and HOLY CRAP THE LAST FEW YEARS OF THIS ARE LIKE 'UTERUS CLOSING: EVERYTHING MUST GO' and it seems like every single month is more symptomatic than the last.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Double blink tag

Triple blink tag


Huh, doesn't really do anything.
posted by slogger at 10:33 AM on June 3, 2009


Sidhedevil, I'm 43, and went through surgical menopause at 36. For me, it was as if I became an old woman overnight. I had to fight to get myself back. I'm still fighting.

Every talk on menopause centers around women in their fifties, sixties--but there's so many of us that don't fit that mold. It's challenging and frustrating, and I understand exactly what you're saying.

And what's worse is that there are people out there preying on the vulnerability of women like us who maybe don't have the resources, or the cynicism, or whatever you want to call it, to research the snake oil they are selling and realize how crazy it is.

And a lot of those women watch Oprah.

I took a step back from this and the original thread because of my own personal baggage, and now I can come back in and laugh at all the "needle in the va-ja-jay" talk.
posted by misha at 10:38 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


> a wave of GRAR

Go Rebuke A Rainbow?
posted by nicepersonality at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2009


Speaking of Colbert, he really had a good time laying into MetaFilter's new best friend Oprah last night.

Fair warning: Suzanne Somers' you know what comes up in that video.
posted by diogenes at 11:11 AM on June 3, 2009


A rave of Gwar?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2009


Hey, it's been like three and half hours since an update in that other thread.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:05 PM on June 3, 2009


Everyone is busy rubbing hormone cream where the sun doesn't shine, that's why.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:29 PM on June 3, 2009


..I would rip them a new asshole without a qualm, because that shit puts people's lives at risk.

I'm not denying that someone like you wouldn't be within their rights to do so, but I'm still wondering about what you would see as such ass-ripping as entailing - whether it would it be making sure that you set them straight as best you could so that they cease promulgating further misinformation and seeding bias, or whether it would be more toward the 'STFU you shitebag' side of the rhetorical spectrum. I think the moral stakes of this issue that you've highlighted oblige the former more than the latter.

The reference to his mother is in my view a nice illustration of what I took to be one of Jessamyn's interesting points above. The fact that we might understand the inclination to defend one's mother's work, however poorly understood and vetted, would have an effect on how charitably or uncharitably we interpret this person's engagement in the discussion. By that I mean, it would have an effect on our assessment of this person's grasp of and emotional involvement with the issue at hand, to which our communicative cues - how we frame our words in voices and bodies - would come to be adapted. The intriguing question for me is whether online frustration and shitcocking is itself a reaction to a dearth of the small perceptions and small cues that serve as guide rails for much of non-online conversation.

I'm not on board with comparing the original thread to either "a lot of random people who don't know each other talk about contentious issues" or a conversation in "a bar or other public place" where you are "talking to your friends about a news article [when] some random guy walks up." Mefi seems to work much more like a public forum or dare i say it a conference where as is to be expected some people know each other better than others. Bustups and shakedowns also occur at such gatherings, and indeed, perhaps for similar reasons to ones I've clumsily described here.
posted by rudster at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2009


why do the limitations of this online forum seem to facilitate giving in to this crossness and irateness, whereas in meatspace maybe we wouldn't do so quite so easily? Why was it so beckoning, apparently, to unleash a wave of GRAR in response to the stupid lack of disclosure, if not bad faith deception, in the original thread?

At any science happening that is open for public, there are few loons who use the audience question time to make questions where they introduce their own theories. During these tirades, people make small displays of exparation, roll their eyes, start talking to each others, do facepalms and other more or less subtle signals to show that they don't approve this message. This is enough to tell other listeners to not take this guy seriously.

Here you can't do these things, you have to directly address the loon or shut up, where later can as well be interpreted as silent approval and that is a signal we want to avoid, especially in subject like this where people feel that lives and health is at stake. When you have to argue with a loon, it is frustrating and goes ugly fast because there is this assumption that the other party is not just wrong, but really, really wrong and he shouldn't even speak until he has learned to be less wrong to not confuse those who want to learn about the subject in good faith.
posted by Free word order! at 1:26 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


making sure that you set them straight as best you could so that they cease promulgating further misinformation and seeding bias

Oh, this, but I know myself well enough that I would not be doing it politely after the first three or four times they refused to specify their qualifications and sources for the information and just assured everyone that they knew more about this than the rest of us could ever imagine.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:02 PM on June 3, 2009


Sidhedevil, I'm 43, and went through surgical menopause at 36. For me, it was as if I became an old woman overnight. I had to fight to get myself back. I'm still fighting.

Yikes, that's such a tough thing to deal with. I have two close friends in the same boat, and I so wish they got more support from the health-care system and society at large. I'm sorry you have this challenge to face.

And what's worse is that there are people out there preying on the vulnerability of women like us who maybe don't have the resources, or the cynicism, or whatever you want to call it, to research the snake oil they are selling and realize how crazy it is.

And a lot of those women watch Oprah.


Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes. And a lot of them were told that "girls don't do well at science" so they never pursued that branch of learning. And a lot of them who did try to get the information they needed were brushed off by doctors. And a lot of them are mocked because they're trying to get this information wherever they can find it, even if it's from aging starlets and television reporters.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:10 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait, Jody's still defending homicide-via-stupidity? What a surprise.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2009


Those who know
They don't let it show
They just actually know far more about this subject
than I think you can imagine.

Goes to show
How winds blow
The weather's fine
And I feel so so-so, so

Birds of prey
With too much to say
Oh what could be my destiny
Another rainy day

Why ask why?
For by the by and by
All mysteries are just more
Needles in Suzanne's vagina

Those who know
They don't let it show
They just actually know far more about this subject
than I think you can imagine.

Why ask why?
For by the by and by
All mysteries are just more
Needles in Suzanne's vagina
posted by item at 3:20 PM on June 3, 2009


Baby Eno weeps
posted by Burhanistan at 5:36 PM on June 3, 2009


This punk is playing D&D and writing crap on the internet...

And you think I was lying when I said I was reliberating Galaxy News Radio before I came back and dug in for the long haul on this one?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2009


This comment by fourcheesemac rocks.
posted by jayder at 7:20 PM on June 3, 2009


wait, from step by step????
posted by skwt at 9:30 PM on June 3, 2009


many thanks jayder
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:12 AM on June 4, 2009


I have a magic bullet that can protect you from ever getting cancer.

Well, it's just a regular bullet, but still.


...On second thought.
posted by applemeat at 6:01 PM on June 4, 2009


Nope. I'm not writing a song about this one. Just listen to this and change the words. Heck, maybe Item's words could fit somehow.
posted by umbú at 10:09 PM on June 4, 2009


Just because misinforamtion should be corrected for the record:

rtha (and Kattulus):
Jake: "Not even. Menopause is certainly not “natural.” There is no menopause in nature.

*gapes in astonishment*

Unlike humans, chimpanzees don't go through menopause | Science Blog

Menopause - animals experience no menstrual cycles.
posted by psyche7 at 6:54 AM on June 5, 2009


Uh... I thought it was funny because of the implication that menopause is unnatural. Also saying "not even" in a senate testimony. Actually, mostly the "not even."
posted by Kattullus at 7:16 AM on June 5, 2009


And I though it was funny (and astonishing that she would say such a thing) because, well, humans are part of nature, and human females go through menopause. What our bodies do in response to our biology is entirely "natural."
posted by rtha at 8:18 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


But women aren't natural. Read up your Genesis: it says they're man-made. Well, made from a man, anyway.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 AM on June 5, 2009


Uh, from that same second Wikipedia article:

"Menopause in the animal kingdom appears perhaps to be somewhat uncommon, although the incidence in different species has by no means been thoroughly researched. However, it is already quite apparent that humans are not the only species that experience it.'
posted by lore at 10:39 AM on June 6, 2009


Also, you left out the "such" in your quote:

"The meaning of the word menopause has in more recent times been expanded to indicate the permanent discontinuation of female fertility in many other species, such as some matrilineal whales, despite the fact that such animals experience no menstrual cycles."

It's saying that matrilineal whales don't experience menstrual cycles, not that humans are the only animals to have menstrual cycles.
posted by lore at 10:43 AM on June 6, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing writes "Also, palladins are the Wesley Crushers of D&D. Please make a note of that for future reference. "

Please; Cavaliers if anything.

jessamyn quotes "Either that or you live a very different life than most librarians. then writes "I think that goes without saying."

Stop crushing my dreams.

fourcheesemac writes "No one is making a blanket statement here that all worthwhile knowledge is credentialed knowledge."

People are saying crap like "The one thing I'll give him credit for is that since he apparently actually has a bachelor's degree, he's at least marginally more qualified to talk about, well, anything than his snake-oil peddling mother." as if there is any validity in a metric that has degreed people automatically more qualified to talk about any subject than those without. I'm sure counter examples of this are legion in AskMe.
posted by Mitheral at 3:48 PM on June 7, 2009


You don't think that having a degree/credentials at least makes it more probable that the person knows what they're talking about and/or can at least work using the scientific method?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 AM on June 8, 2009


I dunno about that - there seems to be a bit of phenomena where people quite senior in one field wander in to another field and start making Batshitinsne pronouncements, for instance.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on June 8, 2009


I dunno about that - there seems to be a bit of phenomena where people quite senior in one field wander in to another field and start making Batshitinsne pronouncements, for instance.

Precisely one of the reasons I left Slashdot, many years ago (I don't know whether it's improved since then). Slashdot was an astounding font of information regarded computer-related topics, especially those making the news. Get away from the computing field, and the amount of misinformation (often modded to "+5 Informative" as long as the person sounded like he knew what he was talking about) there was just as astounding, if not more. I came to refer to it as the Slashdot attitude: "I know a lot about computing; therefore, I know a lot about everything."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:48 AM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Too true, ArtW.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:09 PM on June 8, 2009


"I know a lot about computing; therefore, I know a lot about everything."

That lot are all heading out to their pirate utopia island now, aren't they?
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on June 8, 2009


Also

But, of course, anyone claiming that Computer Science = Real Science is going to get laughed at, right?
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on June 8, 2009


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