Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Dear #WDDTY and supporters - please sign the #AllTrials petition if you've not already done so, thank you

Further down is the explanation of why I've posted this on my blog and not on WDDTY's Facebook page (I did try, honest).

All Trials

Has WDDTY and its supporters signed the #AllTrials petition? If so - hooray, if not might I persuade you?

While the petition is organised by Ben Goldacre, the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and Sense About Science - wait, come back! :) - which I can only imagine might annoy you, I'm hoping the fact that it is actually asking pharmaceutical companies to make available ALL of their clinical trial data (not just the good bits) might cheer you up no end. This is a petition that has already annoyed some pharmaceutical companies, so for that reason alone I hope you might sign it :)

Some of the drug companies have acknowledged the need for a cultural change but others have said they don't want to hand over their data and that it is 'commercially sensitive' - it might well be, but patient safety is more important

We might disagree on many things but I hope we can all agree that more information, and not being allowed to hide unfavourable information about drugs, tends to be 'a good thing'.

More on the petition here

The AllTrials website and they are also on Facebook

You are not harming the reputation of WDDTY or alternative therapists, or benefitting skeptic bloggers, or The Times, by signing this petition. It is quite a separate thing, aimed at ensuring pharma can't hide the data it might want to keep hidden.

Thank you, Jo

Edit seconds after posting...

Here's Ben Goldacre, author of the book Bad Pharma (which is, y'know, critical of some of pharma's practices) writing about why he wrote that book: "I wrote this book because we need to fix a set of problems that have been allowed to persist in my own profession – medicine – for far too long."

This is why I get a bit miffed when people say skeptic / science / health bloggers are in the pay of Big Pharma. No!

Earlier today I received a tweet from whoever's running the @_wddty (What Doctors Don't Tell You) account asking me to "please go to our fb page for replies and statements. Twitter is not meant to be used for giving arguments."

While I'm not entirely in agreement that there are any proscriptions on Twitter's use (I've had some amazing and good-natured arguments on there over the years, sometimes quite productive and I've regularly changed my mind about things) I concede their point. If you've been away from Twitter for a few hours and come back to a bunch of tweets (the other day I found myself copied in on 19 tweets that were really just a conversation between two other people) it's a bit ennervating. Also I don't think that WDDTY have a dedicated responsive social media presence (they may want to have a bit of a think about that though).

So I'm actually fine with interacting with them on Facebook if that's their preference, however I just tried to post the text above on their page and received this unloving message. Possibly I've been blocked from commenting as other skeptic blogger types have found. It could be a glitch though - none of my (reasonably friendly and not all that impolite, I thought) messages showed up the other day and I had assumed I was blocked, only to find them reappear an hour or so later.

Edit: 20 November 2013
Although it happened a couple of weeks ago I have now been blocked from commenting on WDDTY's Facebook page and some (all?) of my previous comments appear to have been removed.

Clearly the wall is WDDTY's space to use as it pleases and it's perfectly within its rights to block me. What I found disheartening was that all of my posts there were civil, had I been rude or spamming - well fair enough, more fool me and that sort of behaviour should lead to someone being blocked. But WDDTY is simply removing the voices of polite disagreement which I think is a shame. Oddly there were some other, quite robust, comments from skeptics - not quite rude but not pulling any punches - and these remained for longer than mine. Perhaps I am just jealous ;)

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Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).