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 A funny thing in the land of woo
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2010 :  21:50:06  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Shorty Awards are a popularity contest for people who use Twitter voted on by Twitterers (or is it "Tweeters?"). If you are on Twitter, you can vote for any number of people in a number of different categories (including user-created ones). This is a short (and probably continuing) story of a few Shorty nominees and some interested standers-by.

On January 18th, Mike Adams ("The Health Ranger") posted a message asking for help in getting "mainstream recognition" for his alt-med nonsense via the Shorty Awards.

On January 19th, PZ Myers (of course) put out the call for poll-crashing the Shorty Awards, at least in the category of "health," where (without naming names) PZ pointed out that alt-med quacks were in the running. PZ suggested voting for Dr. Rachael Dunlop (Dr. Rachie).

By the next day, Orac noted that Dr. Rachie was in 2nd place (up from 16th!), but still had to deal with atrocious quacks like Mike Adams in first place and Dr. Mercola in third. (If you're unfamiliar with these two characters, Orac helpfully offered some background links in his blog post.)

Now, in a comment on Orac's blog, at 1:45 PM on the 20th, Tim Farley (of What's the Harm?) mentioned that some 10-20% of the votes for Mike Adams seemed to be coming from Twitter accounts with only one Tweet (the vote), which meant that those accounts were created for the express purpose of "stuffing the ballot box" which is specifically against the rules of the Shorties. He went on to create a full list of invalid votes for Mike Adams, violations of at least one of three rules of the Shorties.

Tim Farley commented again at 1:27 PM on the 22nd, saying that the Shorty officials had sent out an email saying that they were investigating the votes cast for Mike Adams. By 5:00 PM, Mike Adams hadn't just lost the illegal votes, but had been removed entirely from the competition!

Mike Adams didn't take this very well, asserting (just for starters):
NaturalNews has learned that the Shorty Awards are being operated fraudulently and that the voting results are fixed to exclude candidates who the editors at the Shorty Awards don't want to win. In addition, the Shorty Awards, by refusing to police its own contests, actually encourages false and defamatory campaigning while ignoring legitimate complaints of vote fraud.
The irony of these charges is funny enough all by itself, but Mike Adams wasn't done. Near the end of the message (of many hundreds of words), he wrote:
In the end, I suppose winning a Shorty Award wasn't really such a big deal. We don't need recognition from some tiny website to legitimize our existence on the 'net.
So, just a noisy case of sour grapes, right?

Wrong.

At 4:42 PM on the 23rd, Mike Adams Tweeted a lawsuit threat to the officials of the Shorty Awards.

(By the way, to demonstrate how serious the Shorty Awards are, House is in 17th place in the category of Health, as of this writing. Really, if you were a serious alt-med proponent, would you even want to be in a contest where fictional characters were even possible contenders in anything other than entertainment categories?)

Orac posted a satirical take-down of all of the above in "Shorty Awards 'fraud': The evil Illuminati-Mason-Pharma-Vaccine axis of evil succeeds in its conspiracy!" (obviously, there are timezone issues with these posts and Tweets, or otherwise Orac knew about the lawsuit threat over six hours before Mike Adams sent it.)

The Bad Astronomer's take on the whole mess was titled "Alt Med guy whacked with Shorty end of the stick."

On the 24th, Mike Adams posted "What 'skeptics' really believe about vaccines, medicine, consciousness and the universe," the reading of which is like staring at the Sun if the Sun were made of pure stupid. Orac posted "A pyromaniac in a field of straw man or a black hole of burning stupid incinerating every straw man in the universe? Mike Adams attacks skepticism" shortly afterwards, a fisking of many (but not all) of Adams' utterly ludicrous assertions about skeptics. PZ decided to forego the detailed response in his "Sometimes, I think we break the crazy people," seemingly satisfied with pointing and laughing at the dumbitude.

Mike Adams continued to bring the crazy with "'Skeptics' article stirs up condemnation from skeptics, praise from holistic thinkers," in which he asserts the value of popularity, and also asserts that water, gravity, magnetism and basically all of science is "magical," and seriously asserts that because a whole lot of things aren't fully understood, they're magic.

A little while later, Orac posted "Stay classy, Dr. Joe. Stay classy," in which he points to a Facebook post by Dr. Joe Mercola in which Dr. Joe decided to take the low, low road of pointing out Dr. Rachie's weight. Definitely a serious guy. Mike Adams posted nothing but support for this pitiful whine in "Shorty Awards continues discredited contest, allows hate speech from jackals who attack natural medicine," in which he also ramps up the paranoia about the Shorties and science-based-medicine proponents in general.

The Bad Astronomer again summed up with "Alt-med purveyors show their true colors."

I'm sure there will be more hilarity from Mike Adams, Dr. Mercola and others. Stay tuned.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2010 :  23:08:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Very nicely summarized and notated, Dave. This brouhaha's great entertainment, and it's free!

One disadvantage that any parodist faces is that his targets often do a far better job of spoofing themselves than could any parodist.

I resent that.

I'm willing to stay off their "alt-med" turf. Adams, Mercola & Co. should leave the humor to those of us who have dedicated our lives to it. Bastards.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/26/2010 01:09:34
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  07:15:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Did I say that the hilarity would continue?

Dr. Mercola has posted "Your Voice Is Needed to Help Protect Natural Health Choice," a rant against mainstream medical "brainwashing" and a beg-and-plead with his "two million subscribers" to come up with an extra 600 valid votes. Mercola goes on at length about what one must do to cast a valid vote for him in the Shorty Awards, and basically throws Mike Adams under the bus by emphasizing that it "is NOT a rigged contest," and explaining how Adams "inadvertently" got himself disqualified (while if you read what Adams wrote, the Shorties are definitely rigged and he was thrown out illegally by drug-loving skeptical brownshirts who run the show).

It's pretty awesome to see how, in the name of fleeting Internet fame (dressed up as a metaphorical battle with science-based medicine), these guys will stab each other in the back.

As of this writing, DrRachie is still in the lead with 1,331 votes, Mercola has 944 in second place and House remains in 17th place with 54 votes.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  07:54:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way, like many others, I don't think that Mike Adams should have been eliminated from the competition altogether. The invalid votes for him just should have been subtracted from his total. This, of course, probably wouldn't have stopped him from screaming bloody murder and getting all lawsuit-happy, but it would have made his head exploding that much funnier.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2010 :  09:14:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Funny things happen in the Land of Woo,
Where Twits gambol and worry and stew.
They would prescribe their woo for you,
And dare you laugh, they threaten to sue.

A funny place, that Land of Woo.
~~ Anon




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 01/26/2010 09:30:21
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2010 :  20:54:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's about one more day until the close of the nominations. Yeah... I, PZ, Adams, Orac, Mercola and pretty much everyone else was mistaken in how the Shorty Awards will work. The "voting" that's going on right now isn't voting, it's a nominating process. After tomorrow, Twitterers will have a chance to actually vote for one of the top-five nominees in each category, but there's apparently a panel of judges who will make the final determinations of the winners, so how much each actual vote will count in a category like "health" has yet to be seen.

As of this writing, Dr Rachael Dunlop had 1,323 nominations, Dr. Mercola had 1,144 nominations, and the next three (people I'd never heard of) added together didn't even reach Dr. Mercola's total. (House has dropped to 18th place.) The numbers for everyone were higher a couple of days ago, so it looks like the Shorty folks did some trimming of invalid nominations (I'd seen a couple invalid ones for Dr. Dunlop, myself).

Neither Mike Adams nor Dr. Mercola have put up more rants. Nor has any other person named in this little drama.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2010 :  15:06:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Three more days (I think) to actually vote for the Awards.

It seems that they used all the nominations as votes, because on the first day of voting, the totals were suspiciously similar to the totals on the last day of nominating. I guess they think that everyone who nominated someone for a category would go ahead and vote for them later, too.

As of this writing, Dr. Rachael Dunlop is 152 votes ahead of Dr. Mercola.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2010 :  12:15:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I don't tweet

Interesting though.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2010 :  21:59:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Voting closed with Dr. Dunlop ahead of Dr. Mercola by 176 votes.

The winners won't be announced until the ceremony on March 3rd.

Mike Adams and Dr. Mercola seem to be keeping quiet about the whole thing.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2010 :  20:23:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
PZ is calling the contest in favor of Dr. Dunlop, but it doesn't look it from the Health category page. On the homepage, however, Dr. Dunlop is listed as "Winner," and a view of the ceremony video would probably confirm that.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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podcat
Skeptic Friend

435 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2010 :  21:53:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send podcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just a follow-up on this:

Dr. Rachel Dunlop was indeed the winner of the Shorty Award for Health category. The March 5th podcast(#72) of The Skeptic Zone (http://skepticzone.tv/) has a report from Dr. Rachie on the Shorty Awards, which starts about thirty minutes in. A (what else?) short audio of the award ceremony can be found at the beginning of the podcast.

There was also a link to Dr. Rachie's blog of the Shorty Awards:

http://scepticsbook.com/2010/03/05/shenanigans-subterfuge-and-the-shorty-awards/

“In a modern...society, everybody has the absolute right to believe whatever they damn well please, but they don't have the same right to be taken seriously”.

-Barry Williams, co-founder, Australian Skeptics
Edited by - podcat on 04/06/2010 21:58:02
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