I've been getting increasingly disillusioned with the state of discussions about the general nutrition web these days. Why? So many discussions get cluttered and/or dominated by a few types of purveyors of "scientific" information one should view with skepticism. This is by no means a complete list, and these types are not mutually exclusive.
1. The Unsubstantiator: There is a disturbingly large number of folks with MD after their names who fit this bill, but by all means not all of these. There are also many folks who post on a variety of boards and blogs who have their "schtick" so to speak but offer no substantiation for their often repetitive claims. The Unsubstantiators will write long tomes filled with technical information and factual claims in an authoritative tone. One problem. No references are given. I recognize that not everyone needs detailed, referenced as if it were a scientific paper, style information. At least not all the time. But when the message includes bold claims -- especially about things that are not "common knowledge" , or represent an alternative view -- these claims need to be substantiated. It is not enough to say "X is the cause of Y" because I say so and I have letters after my name, or years of experience with this.
2. The (PubMed) Abstractinator: Often the opposite of the Unsubstantiator, but not necessarily, we have those folks who like to post a litany of, usually PubMed, links to abstracts. If I ask someone for cites, sure, by all means a bunch of links is what I want. But (and I'm making up a bunch of numbers here!) if someone is fond of posting a ton of these:
You get the picture. Personally, I'd rather have the article title than these generic number links if someone is offering up a whole lot of links. At least I can get an idea of if it is even relevant before I go chasing down the links. It's easy enough to find the article searching on the title. Plus, sometimes that's preferred as one might find the full text of "paywall" cites hosted elsewhere ... because it's a good bet that most of the links posted by an Abstractinator will get you only that far.
3. The Search Resultant: Second only to the debacle of Lustig citing the number of YouTube hits on his lecture as some sort of indication of credibility, we have the Search Resultant. There are actually two variations on this. One is a variant of the Abstractinator who will post a litany of links to the results of a PubMed search they clearly haven't vetted to see if they are relevant. The other variant is more annoying, however. This Resultant likes to cite the number of PubMed "hits" there are in a search of the site on some key word. As if that has any meaning at all. After all, lectin resistance yields over 2000 hits so that must be something I should worry over, right?
4. The Common-tater: This Mr. (or Ms.) Potato-head character is dismissive of their "common" audience by implying that what they are saying is "common knowledge" in their professional circles. One of my least favorite phrases in technical texts is "it should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual of observers that ..." -- IOW, if you don't get it you're just stupid. The Common-tater employs similar tactics if their authority or information is challenged.
Beware the above messengers in the context of scientific debate and especially when considering taking the advice of an "expert" that is presented as science-based. Especially those who are serial offenders on multiple counts.
Got any to add to the list?