Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Re: How do you decide what to trust?

Posted by medlib on October 30, 2001, at 5:03:29

In reply to How do you decide what to trust?, posted by Dr. Bob on October 30, 2001, at 1:56:11

Dr. Bob--

I believe that the ethics of facilitating a group like PB begin with considering that those who contribute posts are "members", not "patients"--and the host of such a group is an "administrator", not a practicing "clinician." These terms are more than semantic niceties to me, because they specify not only how the group functions, but its responsibilities and limitations. The Internet was created initially to facilitate peer-to-peer communication; your forum has enabled a virtual assemblage of peers whose very illnesses make us unlikely to meet others like ourselves. Your economical interventions, always as a moderator, not an advisor, are what steer PB on a positive course and enable us to be useful to one another.

I use information gained from PB
--as an experiential database of peers (who make up a small atypical segment of the general patient population).
--as a generator of ideas and alternatives, which I research further on my own and discuss with my pdoc.
--as a comparison source for psych drug reactions not covered in available literature.
--as a second opinion on whether an option is worth further research.
--as a source of information sources (which I then evaluate for myself).
--as a grapevine for early word of new treatments and novel uses of existing ones.
--and for hope, when there otherwise doesn't seem to be any.

For me, PB boards are most useful over the long term. It's necessary to read for awhile to develop a sense for which posters have useful expertise in which areas. Of course, support from other sources (journal citations, reputable web sites, texts, etc) lends veracity to any individual source. IMHO, anonymous expertise can never be more than a "jumping off point"; but wisdom, empathy and simple responsiveness create value that is a lot more than virtual.

As a poster here, I try to offer *to* others some of what I have found of value *from* others--information I believe may be useful, other web sources, personal experiences. I try to remember to confine my opinions to those requested; try to offer alternatives, not advice; and try to have references available for the info I provide.(I found, however, that always including citations tended to clutter up posts.) If I'm replying to someone unfamiliar to me, I'll repeat the usual caveats, where appropriate.

Well, that's more than enough from me. My background and the classes I've taught on finding and evaluating med info on the net make my responses to other questions unrepresentative, I'm afraid (but also very interested in your findings).

Many thanks for the soapbox---medlib




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