Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Dog Person, Mar 10, 2012.
As for the rest, my lips are sealed. But at least my mind is open.
I did ask her to do two tests for family members offering to pay and she only charged what the lab charges her - no profit and her time for free to interpret and advise.
Thanks for this post Nielk. I think it illustrates very well why there have been different perspectives on the commercial issues between those who have been offered free tests (apparently those with previous hair analyses to 'trade' for a further test) and those outside that "inner circle" for whom a commercial service from Christine is available. The bottom line is that Christine has a service to sell, and her activity here has been promoting that business, and if some people are offered free testing, that does not change the fact that she is also promoting and selling her commercial service and we can't allow the forum to be used in that way.
In response to an earlier question concerning my comment that "we regret this has been allowed to happen": my point was that we regret that forum discussion has been used to promote a business and sell commercial services. That is something we do not allow. (Note that the banner advert promotion for ProHealth which we host is different from posting as a member to promote your own business). And please remember that just because a member is posting on the forum, discussing their theories, and offering free testing and advice, that does not mean they do not have a commercial interest in doing that. It is certainly not unusual for businesses to offer free promotions.
Thanks for these thoughts dmh, but further discussion of moderation processes and opinions on past moderation decisions is not appropriate in forum threads. It takes threads off-topic, it gets ugly, and it makes a lot of extra work for us; it makes our job much more difficult and we are going to make it clear in the new guidance that this is not appropriate.
Members with proposals, concerns, and opinions about these issues are welcome to PM the moderators. In future we will have better information about moderation for members, some further clarifications of the rules and policies, and a well-defined place for forum members to ask questions about moderation policy. (Believe it or not, that is exactly what I was supposed to be working on this week, and that work has now been delayed considerably).
As regards your specific suggestions: Democratic involvement in the banning of members sounds like a complete non-starter frankly. I think if you consider the implications of that idea it will become clear that it's unworkable. Moderation is carried out by a team that strives hard to be as impartial as possible, and most importantly in accordance with a consistent set of rules. The closest valid analogy I can think of to what your suggesting would be some kind of jury system under which we hold trials (or appeals) regarding bans, implying that all members are required to agree to be randomly called up for 'jury service'. I doubt we'll ever be going quite that far...
Our processes for the implementation of bans will be improved in certain details in the future, but you can rest assured that we try very hard to work with members behind the scenes, we issue warnings, and we try to avoid bans wherever possible. Spamming and commercial interests are, however, in general an exception to this: once the evidence is clear that a poster is spamming, for example, there is nothing to discuss. There is rather more complexity to the issues in this particular case which I won't elaborate on now, but suffice to say that we will be reviewing some of our rules and procedures in light of this episode.
As to the ruling being premature, I would have to say that in my opinion the opposite is the case. The policy that we do not allow commercial interests to use the forum to promote their business interests is quite clear and reasonable, and members may discuss services here, they can discuss the science, they can compare notes just as we always do, and they can pursue commercial interests outside the site, so it doesn't stop all that happening just because we don't host commercial interests within the forum. Blurring the line between the promotion of commercial interests and open discussion of them is a bad idea: we can't allow this forum's independence and integrity to be corrupted by commercial concerns, so in the 'pros and cons', that's the clear decision on which the rules are based.
There will be further clarification of all these issues when we move to XenForo. In the meantime, please can the discussion of moderation issues on this thread cease - I promise you, it is achieving nothing whatsoever except to delay that clarification of the rules and procedures which we are trying to work on right now.
So, Brenda, although your own test was free, you have solicited two tests which have been paid for?
You have been told that these business transactions were on a non-profit basis, but you have no way to verify what the lab charges Christine. Her business is not, I believe, a non-profit. So it is impossible to verify that Christine has not profited from this arrangement, and it is impossible to confirm that she will not profit from these relationships in some way in the future. One has to assume, if she is running a business, that she intends the business to make a profit at some point.
Some more detailed information about charges for hair analysis tests in general would be a good thing on this thread. Then we could compare costs of other services, and discuss and compare providers, their credentials, and the basis for the science behind the tests. It is crucial that any such discussions here are independent of the commercial interests involved.
I would like to see members exploring this issue and posting some independent information about it here. My understanding is that one lab charges $200 for these tests but frequently offers them at half price or less. I would personally quite like to see some more information here about these costs, some idea of the cost to the labs of performing the tests, and some idea of how the validity of the tests is verified. As far as I can see, there is no actual guarantee here that ensures that a test actually has to take place; the results could (in theory) be made up - and that would imply a considerable profit for someone. I'm of course not saying that is what is happening, with this provider or elsewhere, just that I would like to see some kind of guarantee that it is not happening, because otherwise the situation is ripe for potential exploitation and fraud.
But whether the tests are real and valid or not, and whether the tests you described really were non-profit or not, the fact is that you have now confirmed that you have provided Christine's business with two customers who have paid that business for services. Businesses do benefit even from 'at-cost' arrangements like this, in the long term, because there is value in being able to demonstrate turnover, value in establishing customers and transactional relationships, and value in growing the business and its information, all of which can be cashed in at some future date.
So I hope that your confirmation above makes it clear to everyone that Christine has indeed used forum members to solicit custom for her business, and that the sole basis we have for being asked to consider that this is OK is Christine's word that she is operating the business on a non-profit basis and will continue to do so without ever drawing any income from it herself. And I hope it's therefore now clear to everyone why we have to draw the line where we have drawn it, and why I very much regret that we have not done so sooner in this case.
Is there any kind of licensing, or government control with hair analysis labs?
In case it is still not crystal clear, I'll sum up the situation one last time...
Further discussion of Hair Mineral Analysis, including discussion of Christine's business and services, is welcome.
Further discussion of moderators and moderation decisions is not, but members with concerns about that are welcome to contact us by private message.
Good question, my guess is no, or very little, but I'd love to know more detail on that.
Is there any standardized (and publicized) procedure for doing hair analysis?
Do we have any guarantee that samples aren't contaminated?
Or do we just have to take everything on blind faith?
I found this http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/hair.html about hair analysis.
I asked for a favour, in requesting test kits for family members, understanding that Christine has enough to do for the time being with the 18 or so free tests which are being done and more particularly with the time it will take to study the results and give dietary advice.
I paid for the tests myself and was quite happy to so as she asked for so little not just for the tests but for the dietary advise which will be given and which I have myself benefited from enormously and given freely because Christine is not in this for money. She has made a discovery, that is, that many are B2 dficient due to enriched foods and supplements and wishes to be of help to people like us. My family members are extremely sick and I think it was due to her compassion that she agreed to do the tests as a special favour whereas she has had to turn others down because she is more concerned about her research than she is about making a profit. She says she does not make much profit and by the behaviour I have seen, I believe her.
She did not tell me how much the lab charges for testing, I found out an approximation myself from another health provider who is charging 139 dollars for the test from the same lab. Christine asked for 50 dollars per test, as I have said, because I requested it not because she suggested it. This will cover the cost of the extra kits (3 in all) international postage, sending them off to the lab, and her time for interpretation and follow up advice. That is 100 dollars for goodness knows how many hours work plus all of the expenses mentioned which will barely be covered. Christine knows that she is not building up possible future profits from 3 very sick people who are incapable of work and living in poverty.
We are talking about a person who is devoted to animals and particularly her own dogs and it has been in searching for a way to heal them when they were about to be put down, that she has made some discoveries regarding nutrition.
She came here, wishing to find people who would be willing to help her research not to seek business and if she had been seeking business she really has shown no business skills at all. The fact that there was someone who is interested in helping people like us and who has done so at no cost at all to ourselves, puts her in a rare class of people.
If we get the results of our free tests, and receive even more advice, then we will have lost nothing and as she is not offering supplements and further tests are not vital, we ha ve done nothing but gain from her generosity.
She came here to do research and it is a secondary matter that she is running a business.
Yes, Brenda, it is a secondary matter that anybody who joins this forum is running a business, until they choose to solicit business on the forum a week after they join, and choose to post links to their business after they have been informed of the forum rules regarding advertising. If she had not offered to run hair analyses for money and if she had refrained from posting links to her business after being informed of the forum rules, she would still be a member. As soon as she made the decision to solicit business and post links to her business, the primary concern became advertising on this forum.
Let's not be so naive. The mods have done their job, so let's all move on now, shall we? No one is going to be cured simply by taking B2 supplements anyway.
Did you ever consider that there's a reason that people who are selling something pick relatively harmless/innocuous things you can't OD on - like B2 - when making their fantastical/marketing claims? Notice how none of the "snake oil" salesmen ever say you need to take something that might really mess you up, like megadoses of selenium or some dangerous herb? It's always some miracle claim about something that's basically safe, like B2, "special water," etc. In most case - not saying all - but in most cases that's b/c they're running a scam. Let's just move on now.
It's my understanding that Christine became swamped -- she won't even join the new forum because she's trying to work on her paper -- which she said would take 2-3 months. Yes, she does analysis for a business, but already had clients before she came here so she has to not only work with them, but finish the paper. I think she was unprepared for the onslaught of interest in this area, and perhaps -- perhaps -- took on more than she initially realized she could handle.
Personally, I think she's on to something with the b2 - manganese depletion theory.
We'll never know what transpired in the so-called "Private" chats (which obviously weren't private), but there is no record in any of her posts here that she was asking for payment for her services. Anyway, as stated so many times, I guess that's never going to be up for discussion -- plus, she quit the forums before being banned, and never had any intention of coming back until she was finished with her paper.
That's my take anyway.
p.s. Maybe someone will post the paper after it's published, and then we can get reactions from Rich VanK and others.
With all due respect Mr. Kite, that's not what she ever claimed -- even remotely.
I would just like to clarify that the 'forum rules' apply to posts, private messaging, blogs, social groups, chat, and other types of communications in the Forums. We have NO access to any messages sent to us via PM unless members report a PM via the report PM button. We also CAN NOT access any private conversations that are conducted in private chat rooms set up by members. We can access the transcripts from the registered members chat room and the general members chat room. This is for safety purposes so we can review chats when members complain about members/guests behaving inappropriately.
So PM's are private when not reported, private chats are always private.
I'm not sure whether you're discussing moderation decisions in this post danny, perhaps not quite, so to clarify...
As I understand it, private chats are only accessible (anonymously) to Envolve, but logs of the 2 public chatrooms are kept, and the exchanges referred to were in public chat.
There was a repeated link to her website, and an argument when we removed the second one, but no request for payment in a forum post that I'm aware of, and we haven't said that there was.
But please bear in mind that if there were such a post, it would have been removed anyway so you wouldn't be able to see it - the point being that judging an issue like this based on the information you can see is not a good idea, and so discussing it is quite pointless. You are missing information, and unfortunately that is necessarily always going to be the case.
Imagine a scenario where a member posts a really foul and abusive post about another member containing allegations and slander that is profoundly upsetting and even illegal. We delete the post and suspend or ban the member. Friends of that former member than start posting and complaining that they can't see any justification for the ban, they think it's all very unfair, and they demand to see the evidence. Now that is a realistic situation that has happened several times. Do we re-post the abusive and slanderous allegations? No, of course we don't.
Now this is not an ideal situation if you, as members, want to understand all the decisions we make, and you could argue that this is not transparent. But do you have a better idea on how to deal with such a situation? If so, feel free to PM me with it. But until somebody comes up with a resolution to this paradox, either you trust the moderation team or not, that's all there is to it, and that's up to you. But publicly challenging moderation decisions based on the partial information that you have seen, and necessarily without access to the information that the moderators base their decisions on, is simply an attack on the moderation team, and I hope it's understandable that we really don't appreciate it.
As a point of order, Christine was visiting the forums several times daily after she 'quit', and exchanging PMs, but not posting. Evidence from activity logs is another thing that members don't get to see.
Question for Kina
With apologies in advance to the OP (and the mods)for not keeping to the Hair Mineral Testing topic, can I just ask you Kina when we "like" a post is the information of which members liked a post private, or is that available to the moderators?
Private currently, we can't see it at the moment, but in the new software (XenForo) it appears that it is public to everyone Retro eek. Whether that's a setting can be changed, and whether this includes old likes from the current forum, I don't know. That is one of the questions we want to start testing as soon as members allow us to get on with it all.
Can I just beg members to give us a day or two off from all these questions please? We are working so, so hard to try to solve all these problems and this whole issue has delayed us by a week at a critical time. If you store up any non-urgent questions you have until after the migration, there will be a clear route for you to ask them - if they haven't already been answered in the documentation we were trying to get finished this week.
and yes re the questions, from me.
Best of luck with this "critical time".
Separate names with a comma.