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The main point of this post is to gain consensus about how to tackle pseudoscience or questionable practices in the future, ideally without decimating new users.

I ask this out of personal experience:

My introduction to Psychology SE was a bit of a trial by fire. I genuinely did not realise that EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique was so controversial and was in the "pseudoscience" camp so to speak. The journal articles I referred to were retrieved from PubMed which I believed to be reliable.

While looking for help on Meta, I discovered that this debate on pseudoscience has reoccurred for several topics and it does not feel resolved to me:

Concretely, if we can can get some consensus on how to best handle pseudoscience questions, could we update or include this in the Code of Conduct or Expected Behaviour Guidelines?

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    I hope I didn't mean to come off too harsh, but from my perspective you had a half dozen total questions and answers posted in a short time, as a new user here, all focusing on one side of a clearly pseudoscience idea. I don't think I made any personal attacks against you besides to point out that you had repeatedly posted content based on that topic. If that isn't true please point me there so I can apologize properly, because that would not have been my intent. – Bryan Krause Aug 24 '19 at 3:55
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    Nah. Its fine Bryan. I was just wading through the morass of papers which was better written than what would have piqued my suspicion. I guess you have a better sense and a better criticality than I have. Articulating why it was obvious to you would have been helpful. Rather than implying that it is obvious when it didn't seem obvious to me from the onset. – Poidah Aug 24 '19 at 4:48
  • Thanks for the feedback! And, since I've been remiss, welcome to Psych&Neuro.SE :) – Bryan Krause Aug 24 '19 at 5:37
  • Lol. No probs. The thread that I linked was applicable to me - my Dunning-Kruger blindpot psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/1556/…. I – Poidah Aug 24 '19 at 5:42
  • I liked this question suggestion from the IPS group. I can't seem to find one for this group - interpersonal.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask – Poidah Aug 29 '19 at 11:18
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    Updating the help tour for this meta would also be great option - psychology.stackexchange.com/tour – Poidah Aug 31 '19 at 9:46
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    A lot of the tour/dont-ask/etc pages are actually just complete copies across stack exchange psychology.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask It's possible many of them "can't" even be customized the way things are set up, that is, it would be a fairly substantial escalation at SE to update them. I'm a bit unfamiliar where all those lines are drawn, but I find that it's a big problem for some of the more scientific stacks that I frequent. In particular, I find the prohibitions on personal medical advice to be horribly buried relative to their importance, but there are many similar examples. – Bryan Krause Sep 2 '19 at 23:50
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    This is another great resource for newcomers, a Meta question that covers most of the common issues - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7931/… – Poidah Sep 4 '19 at 13:43
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One way to manage this issue is to adopt Arnon's previous recommendations -

  • We don't want to discourage/alienate professional clinicians of any school or discipline.
  • Questions about the efficacy of any school of psychotherapy are on-topic.
  • Questions about the scientific basis of any school of psychotherapy can be on-topic.

Therefore, I would argue that each question should be examined on its own merit rather than stereotyped and generalizations applied to the question or the OP or the field of inquiry.

Another unappreciated point is this SE's role of educating the public. I think this SE has a useful role in educating the public and making transparent the academic critique that is not accessible nor transparent to many in the public. As an educationalist, I appreciate the difficulty and complexity in increasing awareness and improving the level of academic discussion. Yes, it can be draining repeating and debunking myths. It would feel like whack-a-mole exercise if not managed well. However, I would argue, if those myths are out there and it is articulated well, it is better to be debated here in SE than causing harm for others out there. Of course many downvotes and harsh words will be exchanged (thanks @Bryan Krause) but I think we should try to avoid ad hominem attacks and using You statements.

I believe Arnon's suggestions should be adopted and that the Code of Conduct or Expected Behaviour Guidelines should be changed to reflect this.

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    I'll try to avoid using "you" in the future and keep comments directed towards the posts. My intent was always to critique the content and not the person (and I disagree that the word "you" makes something ad hominem; your link has a broader view of a 'personal attack'), but I understand that intentions aren't everything and the manner in which criticism is perceived is also important, so I'll try to do better. – Bryan Krause Sep 2 '19 at 23:29
  • Related psychology.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2373 – Chris Rogers Dec 29 '19 at 9:08

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