Healthcare posting and moderation policy

Discussion in 'Information and Announcements' started by editor, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. editor

    editor Administrator

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Messages:
    6,153
    The recent topic on ticks has brought to light a need for some clarification on our policy regarding health advice and information.
    We do urge anyone who is worried about their dogs to contact their vet rather than rely on advice from an internet forum. However, obviously people will still want to discuss, and sometimes to recommend remedies for minor ailments, parasite control and so on.

    Going back to nature
    Many people these days are keen to use remedies that are natural and are attracted to alternative or complementary medicine. I have a policy on all my websites of supporting an evidence-based approach to healthcare. But this does not mean you can’t discuss alternative remedies, you can. There are a number of alternative remedies which have been shown to be effective, and discussing our own experiences of these can be helpful to others.

    What it does mean is that I don’t allow people to promote products that have been proven to be ineffective, and that I try to ensure discussions about new or unproven remedies are balanced and focus on the evidence currently available. So for example it isn’t okay to say –
    (recommendation based on anecdotal evidence only).

    But it is okay to say for example,
    (anecdotal evidence backed up with some research)

    Getting at the truth
    Of course it can be very difficult to decide whether or not a remedy is effective and genuinely helpful. Even where there are promising results in trials, we don’t always know for sure whether something will work in a wider population. It takes a lot of testing, and usually some kind of systematic review of many studies before ‘alternative’ remedies can make the leap to recognized mainstream medicine.

    I believe that it is very important that we are honest about how we present information online. Where a remedy has been showing promising results in trials, let’s post up links to the research. It makes the post more interesting and useful to those reading.

    Moderation and rules
    Where there is little evidence to support a remedy as being useful, we need to be objective and honest about this, and where a remedy has been proven ineffective beyond all reasonable doubt, we need to let it go and not keep pushing it on other people. I know that this can be hard when you have put your faith in something, and that is why the moderation team may step in from time to time.

    Please bear in mind, that just because a post has not been picked up by the moderation team does not mean that the forum endorses what has been posted. We do our best, but can never guarantee to read every post. You still need to use your own judgment as to the value of what is being recommended.
    If you see a post you think should have been moderated please do let us know and we will take a look.

    I know the whole issue of evidence and proof can be confusing. Some of you may find the following articles helpful for a closer look at some of the concepts mentioned in this post.
    Summary
    The issue in a nutshell is not whether or not a remedy is natural or synthetic, alternative or mainstream medicine, but whether or not it works.
    Simple, natural, products are wonderful if they do the job. And we like to encourage people to focus on this when discussing healthcare on the forum
    I have made a small addition to the rules to summarise this approach

    Here it is: addition to rules
    Members should consider providing links to evidence when making claims for alternative remedies or therapies. Please be aware of the limitations of anecdotal evidence.
    Moderators may remove health care information and advice that contravenes our policy of supporting evidence-based medicine
     

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