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 2017 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 28 June 2014

The campaign against WDDTY continues, apparently

Lynne McTaggart has published a post [http://www.lynnemctaggart.com/blog/272-the-campaign-against-what-doctors-dont-tell-you-continues] suggesting that skeptics (we're in 'quotes' for some reason) have managed to convince Tesco that customers have been complaining about the magazine ​What Doctors Don't Tell You​ . I don't think this is quite right - any complaints I've sent to Tesco either by email or Twitter haven't focused on my customer status, only why I think the medical information in the magazine isn't up to scratch.

Ms McTaggart also suggests that we've "harrassed dozens of [WDDTY's] advertisers by reporting them to the ASA" - well I'd say the advertisers have made misleading advertising claims and the expected response to that would be to report it to the ASA. From what I can tell the ASA agreed that the ads were misleading and adjudicated against quite a few of them for breaching the advertising guidelines that all marketer are meant to follow.

Then things get a bit odder - she says that various skeptic organisations "sent their foot soldiers to hide our magazines on the shelves of stores and attempted to destroy our Google ranking."
True enough several people hid magazines, but framing this as 'foot soldiers' is a bit daft. A couple of people tweeted about doing it on the #wddty hashtag, it amused some others and they did it too. Not really a command from on high.

Regarding the Google ranking - this seems to relate to a persistent misunderstanding of how 'Do Not Link' works. When a website links to another website it is effectively implying to Google's webcrawlers that it values that website. By using tools like Do Not Link we're telling Google to ignore this implication - but we're not worsening the Google ranking, we're just not increasing it.
The sentence "One of our websites was even mysteriously hacked into" seems to suggest that "skeptics did it" but websites are hacked all the time and I suspect it's more likely a coincidence. Of course it is possible that there are rogue skeptics doing this but I doubt it.

"Simon Singh is busy these days tweeting his supporters to write Tesco to thank them for not stocking us." - yep, I followed this suggestion as it seemed a good one. I was quick enough to write to them when they were selling it, no bad idea to thank them for (eventually) listening to my concerns.




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