And now for something completely different

I’m trying a new thing. I think it would be nice to have a place where medical professionals, and those who wish to see how those professionals are thinking, can have frank discussions about medicine, altmed, etc. In support of this, I’ve created a new forum. The idea is to enhance discussions about medicine, medical ethics, and related issues, and enable people to start their own topic that might not have shown up on the blogs.

I’m hoping that the discussion can compliment what is already happening right here.

The catch is that I’m going to have a more aggressive moderation policy than I would be comfortable with here. Trolling, abusive behavior, etc. will be verbotten. Anyway, it’s super beta, so feel free to come by and check it out.


  1. Cool. Let me in and I’ll lurk. My brother-in-law’s a doctor. Does that count?

  2. Everyone is welcome, whether you’re the sausage maker, or just want to watch it being made.

  3. Marilyn Mann

    Cool, I have put in my application to join.

  4. Mmmmmm, sausage….

  5. elisabeth

    Perhaps it will include complIments about the blog, but it’s more likely to complEment it…

  6. I think there is something seriously wrong with the whole forum method of communication. There’s a whole bunch of things, but I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that it doesn’t match peoples habits of normal conversation.
    The response time is way to long, for starters. People are prone to leaving a comment and not coming back. There’s only one level of volume – if you could comment on posts, that would be better. There is only one course of conversation a thread can take, which totally grates against peoples habits of useful conversation.

    I predict failure. The forum format is much too flawed.

    One thing that could make more sense is to have several real time chatrooms open for a specific hour each day – programmers sometimes set up six or more IRC channels at once when gathering online.

  7. Good idea. I prefer to associate denialism with the carbon fuel industry’s promotion of global warming denial, and denying a human cause.

    This remains the greatest medical threat to our species –

    The Professional Denier’s script
    Purpose: to delay any organized reaction that could limit carbon fuel consumption

    For optimal delay – try to prolong time between each statement, begin:

    “There is no such thing as global warming”

    “OK there is some warming
    –But the science is still not sure about it
    “OK most ALL Scientists agree that there is warming
    –But some scientists do not agree.
    “OK I see that you don’t really need to be a scientist to see the warming
    –But it is not warming everywhere
    “OK I see the data says the average temperature is warming
    –But your data collection is flawed
    “OK I see that data has been collected for years just about everywhere
    –But not the oceans, the oceans are still just fine
    “OK I see the oceans are warming almost everywhere
    –But Antarctic ice is increasing
    “OK I see the Artic ice is melting, and Greenland ice cap too.
    –But that is natural cyclical change
    “OK I see that there is no cycle as powerful as our recent industrial age
    –But global warming is not really caused by humans
    “OK I see the warming may be greatly enhanced by humans
    –But we cannot possibly do anything about it.
    “OK maybe we should try to do something about it.
    –But it won’t be a problem for another century
    “OK maybe it is smarter to face the problem sooner rather than later,
    –But we should not be overly concerned or act with too much haste
    “OK we should be really concerned and start to act right now
    –But we should not be too anxious or worried
    “OK we should be worried
    –But we should certainly not be alarmist
    “OK maybe we should sound the alarm,
    but we should not panic.

    ( “OK that should delay things for a few decades, can we have our paycheck now?)

  8. Is this a place to ask generic medical questions?

  9. I hadn’t seen it as that, but who knows what might develop. That’s often a dangerous road to go down…

  10. anon: The response time is way to long, for starters. People are prone to leaving a comment and not coming back.

    Forums (successful forums) tend to accumulate users/members who know what can be found there and anticipate coming back to contribute and continue the discussion. That the response is not immediate and ‘back -n- forth’ can be a good thing in the long run…

    anon: I predict failure. The forum format is much too flawed.

    A well-designed forum with distinct areas for distinct (and engaging) content should be successful.

    PalMD: The catch is that I’m going to have a more aggressive moderation policy than I would be comfortable with here.

    As it grows and demonstrates viability and interest/need you could always open a ‘rough-n-tumble’ forum where idiots could be idiots and be called out for just that. I mean, as long as they know to expect it …


    P.S. Going to ‘register’ (and probably lurk). Like I need one more online time-sucker…

  11. A closely moderated forum of this type can be very successful, as could an unmoderated version. A prime example of the latter is Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science forum, which has a wider remit than you intend, and is full of wit, humour and dissent as well as critical thinking.

    The JREF forums, though I don’t frequent them often, are a good example of the former, and members seem very willing to follow the lead of mods, rather than having the mods impose certain behaviour rules.

    A good example of a very specialised patient focused forum is the CLLforum ( which you are a member of.

    I have applied to join your forum, and look forward to perhaps making some sensible contribution.

  12. I absolutely love this idea and will apply when I have time (I am actually capable of being civil and not being a potty mouth).

    Not sure why anyone would predict failure – I actually prefer the online forum method of communication. I have very severe ADHD and find that trying to get into a “real” world forum is very difficult, because everything tends to get muddled for me. Too, I have pretty extreme issues with crowds. Combined, these problems make it virtually impossible for me to actually get much out of such forums and absolutely impossible for me to make any sort of meaningful contribution (I like to think I occasionally make a meaningful contribution to online forums).

    Most of the forums I am involved with are geared towards home repair and remodeling, as that has been my field. I have found that the folks who frequent them with requests for help with this problem or that, really like the format that allows them to take the time to formulate questions that arise from the responses they get. It makes it possible for them to think about it and start working on the repair, knowing that folks are going to monitor the thread if they come up with more questions. Too, a have found that other professionals learn new things all the time, including myself.

    Of course the biggest advantage, is that the record is pretty much permanent. Someone coming along later can search and find out that their problem has been addressed previously – or forum members and moderators can point them in the right direction. And they can contact the person who had the question previously and find out how it went and what they ended up doing. Remarkably, often the best person to ask, is another laymen who has been there.

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