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Web of Trust shows bias against natural medicine and 'counter information': Has the app been hijacked?

Web of Trust or WOT is a program, available as a browser add-on, which collects user ratings of websites. The program can be freely downloaded from the WOT site at

WOT will do two things for you:

As you surf the web, color coded little icons are added to links to let you know what other users think of the website, whether they believe it is reliable, whether their commercial offerings are honest and whether the site should be avoided by children.

Web of Trust also lets you 'vote' on sites, to increase or decrease their user rated reputation scores. Every WOT user can vote once for each site, and according to the developers, the scores are extremely difficult to "game", meaning it is difficult to give someone a bad reputation by automated or group voting.


Why is it then that sites that carry information on natural medicine, sites that inform about the dangers of vaccines, and in general sites that do not agree with the pharma-dominated medical paradigm are often rated in an extremely negative way?

It does not make sense that the users of those sites would give them negative ratings. Most of those sites' users go to them for the information they find interesting and useful. Rather than negative, the sites should be rated positively by users. Yet, we see the exact contrary. The more honest the information on a site, the more likely it is to be flagged as "unreliable" and having "a poor reputation".

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Enter the "quackbusters"

There is a group of cynics calling themselves "skeptics", who have been quite active on the internet, questioning not the established dogma but those who dare say something different. They are the self-appointed custodians of scientific (and medical) orthodoxy, the rabid dogs who bark at anyone who gets out of line.

According to Tim Bolen, there is a branch of skeptics in North America who, calling themselves the "quackbusters", are out to destroy practitioners of natural medicine, doctors who do their job with an eye on the importance of nutrition, anyone who says they developed a cure for cancer, and of course anyone who thinks that vaccines are dangerous or that autism is anything but a natural consequence of some factor that no one has figured out yet.

Tim Bolen calls them "quackpots" and at his website - - he makes some scathing remarks about them and their actions.

Bolen also explains why those "quackbusters" have been attacking natural medicine (actually anything that's not part of conventional western medicine) on a special page titled Who are these so-called "Quackbusters"?...

What do the "quackbusters" have to do with the Web of Trust?

Well, it appears that they may have hijacked Web of Trust adopting it as their preferred tool to warn people not to trust the advocates of natural cures, or those who inform about the dangers of pharmaceutical medicine.

There are some comments - especially on sites that inform about Dr. Hamer's theory of cancer being based on mental/emotional factors, that seem to indicate that the "quackbuster" crowd is behind voting them down.

Here are some examples from that indicate something like this might be afoot.

"Ethical issues - very dangerous site = fake medical information, and treatment see"

"Adult content - Diese "pseuodheilmethoden" haben schon Leben gekostet, wie im Fall von Geerd Hamer auch von Kindern (Translation: Those pseudo healing methods have cost lives, even those of children, in the case of Geerd Hamer)"

"Phishing or other scams - WARNING: Vorsicht, hier sind Kurpfuscher am Werk. Bewahren sie ihre Gesundheit. Bitte lassen sie sich nicht von Verbrecher und Verschwörungstheoristen verführen. The ideas presented on this site are dangerous to your health. Stay away from here."

Needless to say, there is no adult content on that Hamer related alt medicine site. The negaive comments are balanced by several good ones, yet the overall ratings remain horrible. The "quackbusters" with their negative votes seem to have an edge over just anyone voting positively.


Here is another example: Vaccine related sites are treated in the same way...

"Ethical issues - Bizarre claims about vaccination. Lacking evidence.
Hazardous for health, especially for children."

"Hateful or questionable content - Yet another anti-vaccination website, peddling misinformation to discourage people from vaccinating. These people are putting our children at risk. PLease see your doctor rather than getting information from these dodgy websites."

"Hateful or questionable content - Nothing but science denial, conspiracy theories and medical quackery on this site. Especially dangerous to children if parents follow the sites advice."

I recommend that you get the tool and start looking at your favorite sites yourself, see what the votes are, and the comments. Make up your own mind and if you think that a site has been unjustly voted down (or unjustly voted up) make your voice heard by participating in the voting.

The tool is very simple to use.

In addition to downloading the tool and installing it on your browser, you can also make an account. When you are signed in, you can make comments and also vote on the comments of others. You can either approve a comment (sending it higher up to a more prominent listing) or disapprove it (sending that comment further down - to be listed in a lower position).

Here is once more the link for getting your personal copy of the WOT tool:

Have fun!