r/AskDocs Founder Dec 21 '18

New Rule: Unverified users cannot claim credentials in their comments

Hello everybody,

The mod team has been in discussion regarding unverified users including claims that they are medical professionals in their comments. As of today, we are going to start giving warnings against this.

We understand that many of you are not lying about your credentials and are simply uncomfortable with getting verified. This is completely reasonable and we are not against it at all. However, many first time posters on this subreddit are not aware of our verification system and take most of what they read at face value. This could introduce some risk if someone were to come along and lie about credentials with malicious intent.

If you are a medical professional and do not want to go through the verification process, you do not have to stop giving advice or commenting. We simply ask that you do not mention your credentials in your comment. If you want your credentials to be known, please go through the verification process with our moderators. It is completely anonymous and not intrusive to your privacy whatsoever.

We understand this may upset some of our users, however we have more verified physicians than ever before and receiving an answer to your question in a timely matter is not as uncommon as it used to be. We are only doing this in the best interest of everybody's safety.

I have added a new report reason - "Claiming Credentials." If you see an occurrence of this on the subreddit, please report it so the mod team can handle it.

Thank you all, I will leave this thread unlocked for feedback and discussion regarding this change.

Edit: A lot of people have been asking how to get verified.

From our sidebar:

If you would like to join the /r/AskDocs verified contribution team, please send the Mods a message with your profession and a form of verification via an imgur.com link. Click here to see an example. Please be sure to remove any identifying information from your verification document before submitting. This includes: names, contact information, ID Photos, certification numbers, etc... We want to protect the identity of our submitters by keeping them anonymous.

309 Upvotes

108

u/Love4Mizzou Epidemiologist Dec 21 '18

I think this is a good idea. You might want to sticky the post for more visibility.

74

u/Phhhhuh This user has not yet been verified. Dec 21 '18

I am one of the people that are still (at this moment at least) uncomfortable with being verified. Never put anything on the internet that you don’t want to stay there, and so on. So I guess I’m one of the people being ”hit” by the rule here, but I fully understand your reasoning and I think it’s fair. I didn’t know that fraudulent (and dangerous?) claims were a problem here, or I didn’t realise the extent of the problem. I might reconsider verification at some point, I’ll have to think about it. But if fraudulent claims are a real problem then it’s a no-brainer, the needs of sick patients must come first.

22

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 21 '18

While it's definitely not a rampant issue, the consensus by the mods was that the pros of this rule outweigh the cons. This is more of a preventative measure as the subreddit continues to grow and our post volume becomes increasingly harder to monitor. Feel free to keep contributing and I hope you eventually decide to get verified!

15

u/jcarberry Physician | Moderator Dec 22 '18

If you don't feel comfortable verifying, we understand. Our belief is that high quality medical advice being given by professionals will rise to the top regardless of credentials, so the benefit in reducing fraudulent claims outweighs.

7

u/olican101 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 27 '18

I just wish there was a "non medical" tag for people that don't work in the medical field. That way you know that the advice being given isn't from a medical expert. I have UC for example and would give advice to someone on here with UC but I'd like it to be clear that I am in no way a professional.

10

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18 edited Nov 24 '19

[deleted]

24

u/tcc1 Physician, Emergency Medicine | Moderator Dec 22 '18

Not everyone is comfortable with this

3

u/itsme1704 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Ditto

3

u/olican101 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 27 '18

I really like this rule. There are so many fraudulent claims on sites like YouTube.

I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis about 6 months back. I learnt pretty quickly that fibre was causing the issue. Meanwhile, people on YouTube are telling me to eat more fruits and vegetables! Cruciferous vegetables literally cause me to bleed internally!!!

They also all peddle things like "don't eat chocolate", which is one of my safety foods.

Everyone with UC is different but these people think everyone is like them and then charge people for advice that probably won't work for them. They also get app the people that it DID work for to promote them.

I'm glad this community isn't allowing it here.

1

u/Frolikewoah Physician Jan 06 '19

For what it's worth, you are free to obfuscate any or all details on your document you send the mods. All it really has to be is your license with the number, state, and name blacked out and your user name and date hand written on it.

25

u/andromedex This user has not yet been verified. Dec 21 '18

I think this is the right move. As the sub has grown it seems I've seen more and more problematic advice being given. I think it's a hard line to walk allowing non-professionals to answer questions aimed at medical professionals without letting actual medical advice be drowned by anecdotal advice or opinions. I definitely don't envy the mods job here, but it's very appreciated.

On that note, if we see a nonprofessional posting questionable advice (e.g. stop taking your meds) should we err on the side of caution and report it?

27

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 21 '18

On that note, if we see a nonprofessional posting questionable advice (e.g. stop taking your meds) should we err on the side of caution and report it?

Absolutely!! Users do not report enough stuff here. The main reason we have so many physician moderators is specifically for these types of situations - removing bad info. We cannot effectively do this if the community doesn't report.

6

u/anfnthrowaway This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Questionable advice I definitely understand but on this throwaway and others I’ve given some of my own experiences with antidepressants and other mental health meds just as a “someone else did experience this” thing. I’d never advise anyone to stop taking medicine but sometimes when trying new mental meds knowing you aren’t alone in some symptoms is comforting.

4

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

That's fine, you're allowed to comment even if you're not directly giving advice.

1

u/anfnthrowaway This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Awesome :) I usually preface my comments with “IANAD”, maybe in the sidebar section it could be added that if people without flair comment who aren’t doctors, they should really try to clarify that for people reading. I have some knowledge on certain stuff from my own medical issues but I always make sure to say I’m not a doctor and that one may come and correct me, however I’ve had a lot of experience with drug side effects so that’s usually what I chime in on. That and hormone issue stuff for females.

16

u/farmerlesbian This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Are you guys gonna add a report reason for "egregiously bad medical advice"?

22

u/Porencephaly Physician/Neurosurgeon Dec 22 '18

Have seen someone here advise putting yogurt in one's vagina to replenish bacteria.

13

u/farmerlesbian This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

There was also a guy suggesting someone who had just been diagnosed with lymphoma treat it with garlic a while ago. So yeah, it's a major issue.

2

u/anfnthrowaway This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Is the sugar free fruitless normal yogurt not considered a home remedy for yeast infections? It wasn’t me that said it and honestly I feel like it just has more to do with the coldness of the yogurt feeling soothing but does it do nothing at all? I know ingesting probiotics is more beneficial from a preventative standpoint and sugared yogurts won’t help at all

10

u/Porencephaly Physician/Neurosurgeon Dec 22 '18

Yes, it is a home remedy. Like most home remedies, it doesn’t work. The very problem we’re describing is laypeople filling this sub with nonsense home remedies.

2

u/Fettnaepfchen Physician Dec 27 '18

Thanks for the link. I know an older gyn professor who teaches yoghurt as acceptable preventative measure (at first signs if a vaginal imbalance) in his lectures at a prestigious German university, although I think he meant the effect on pH balance rather than bacterial flora directly, because he explicitly stated it wouldn't matter which yoghurt, as long as it was natural (not heated, no flavours) with some live cultures. I doubt he meant that you could cure full blown imbalances with it, and he certainly didn't recommend garlic.

I will add that all patients I saw in person required actual antifungals against their yeast infections regardless of having tried yoghurt, garlic, prayers or nothing at home before coming in. I wonder how many people use garlic etc. and are convince that it works when they don't even know if they had gotten ill in the first place with or without the garlic...

1

u/anfnthrowaway This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Oh yeah I was just asking. I wouldn’t reply to a comment on this sub with that as advice, I was just genuinely wondering. I did know that it’s more helpful internally than externally. Your comment just made me curious that’s all :)

1

u/Wholesomedix This user has not yet been verified. Jan 06 '19

Yeah just because you found the orthopedic surgeon doesnt mean he's not a doctor

5

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

You can always write in a report reason, but I could add a preset one if that is easier.

7

u/farmerlesbian This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Please add it as a preset. The option to submit a custom report reason isn't available on Mobile, so I often end up selecting "this isn't a replacement for going to a doctor" which uh, doesn't quite convey the rule violation.

5

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Done!

4

u/farmerlesbian This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thank you so much :D

33

u/AUnifiedScene This user has not yet been verified. Dec 21 '18

How often have you had issues with obviously fraudulent, harmful advice being given out by someone claiming to be a physician/provider?

39

u/tcc1 Physician, Emergency Medicine | Moderator Dec 21 '18

quite often

29

u/TheOriginalDovahkiin Medical Student Dec 21 '18

Honestly, no one should be taking advice from here without consulting their doctor. Reading the info and seeing a few pictures isn't nearly as effective as an in-person exam and conversation with the patient.

If anything people should use this subreddit as a place to find ideas to give their Doctors.

That's why I always tell the poster to go to a doctor as part of my response, especially since I'm just a student.

16

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 21 '18

This is spot on. This subreddit is not to be used for deciding course of action, it's to get opinions on diagnosis and information on how to proceed. It is never to be a substitute for real care. Thank you for your comment, this idea is very important

13

u/Canonconstructor This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18 edited Dec 22 '18

I only have ever posted to see if my issue warranted a doc apt of if I was wasting time. I love this sub and thank you to all the mods for keeping it amazing. Also thank you for that one time the husband should have been seen but resisted - you all saved his life. He had his appendix removed per the advice (drag his ass to the Er kicking and screaming) a few days later the stubborn husband walked out thank you so much my family literally owes you our lives because my husband would have kept claiming indigestion and ignored.

Ps sorry for formatting I’m on my phone just have to say this sub is amazing and contributors are God’s- and as we speak my husband (months later) is currently cleaning my carpets so in the long run this sub made me win :) clean carpet+ alive husband/wife right + amazing sub I get to read- I love it.

3

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Thank you for the kind words :)

23

u/Love4Mizzou Epidemiologist Dec 22 '18

There was an issue a few weeks ago where someone was posing as an OB/Gyn to solicit nude photos.

12

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Whoa, what? Do you know their username? I wasn't aware of this and don't know if it was handled

11

u/Love4Mizzou Epidemiologist Dec 22 '18

Another mod took care of it. The original post is deleted, but you can see the comments here. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskDocs/comments/9z4325/mods_need_to_do_something_now/?st=JORIPZ7Y&sh=0bdbd36e

9

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Glad it was taken care of. Thanks

6

u/JoeyRobot This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18 edited Dec 22 '18

7

u/Canonconstructor This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

This is the reason we can’t have nice things.

-3

u/AUnifiedScene This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18 edited Aug 20 '21

edit

7

u/Love4Mizzou Epidemiologist Dec 22 '18

No, I don’t think he was verified on AskDocs.

5

u/jcarberry Physician | Moderator Dec 22 '18

They most certainly were not

6

u/chuby007 Physician Dec 22 '18

Great to the collegues... get verified it's nice to give back !

7

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18

Any comments on that guy who tried to get verified a few weeks ago and essentially got his information stolen by a mod? (Supposedly the mod was a good guy/girl but had their account hacked or something) but regardless, the guy used his EMT card with his license number and name and things...

5

u/mudfud27 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Yeah.... in addition to just being a general pain right here is one more reason why this board certified, fellowship trained, reasonably well published MD/PhD won’t be getting verified for any fake internet points (or, presumably, posting here anymore). There is just no way that posting on reddit to help someone out should have real-world consequences like that.

5

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18

Right? I worry, what's next? Once you've verified, if someone feels they received bad advice can they make efforts to discover who you are? Sue you? Find whatever online profile might exist for you and write nasty reviews which we have no real ability to defend ourselves against? Oh well I guess. I'll just silently watch the "MDs" that are freshly graduated med students without any real training give "doctor-patient" advice.

2

u/mudfud27 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

100% agreed.

8

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18

For getting a flair with your credentials, can nursing students/respiratory therapy students get a flair? Though I am not a doctor, I do have the knowledge and often finding myself able to clarify things for posters on this sub.

9

u/PokeTheVeil Physician | Moderator Dec 22 '18

Yes. A student of any kind can receive appropriate flair.

2

u/msangeld This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

So I'm just wondering are you or any of the other mods Medical Professionals? I can't tell because your only flair says founder.

3

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

I am not a medical professional myself. The following mods are physicians:

DocJ2786

Dr_Strange_MD

jcarberry

PokeTheVeil

tcc1

foremanMD

apjashley1

Ulsenius

murpahurp

KingNebby

NeilBrainstrong

1

u/msangeld This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thanks for the thorough response! :)

2

u/MrXian This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

I like this idea.

Could I get verified as not being a doctor or medical professional at all? Or could I flair myself?

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Looks like you've been here for a while as you have our old default "user has not been verified" flair. We got rid of it but im thinking about bringing it back

2

u/coozkomeitokita Dec 22 '18

Very smart idea. Nice.

2

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18

What’s the process for verification?

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

From our sidebar:

If you would like to join the /r/AskDocs verified contribution team, please send the Mods a message with your profession and a form of verification via an imgur.com link. Click here to see an example. Please be sure to remove any identifying information from your verification document before submitting. This includes: names, contact information, ID Photos, certification numbers, etc... We want to protect the identity of our submitters by keeping them anonymous.

4

u/Beautifuldays This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

How do we become verified? I’m on mobile so I may not be seeing what I need to in order to request verification.

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

All the information is in our sidebar. I don't know which app you use but you should be able to view it

3

u/rajuvamsi007 Physician Dec 22 '18

I am on the official Reddit app on mobile. There is no sidebar. Can I verify through the mobile app?

1

u/MsScienceTeacher This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Yeah, I have official Reddit so and can't find side bar.

2

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Three dots in the top right corner - "Community info"

1

u/MsScienceTeacher This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thank you!

2

u/EVgreen This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

I looked at it and it suggests that you submit a photo of a diploma deidentified...is it going to be posted somewhere? We don't even want mods knowing us?

3

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

It will not be posted anywhere and we encourage the submitter to delete the photo from imgur after they've received their flair. We see no reason to require more information and we prioritize liability and privacy over anything.

-1

u/[deleted] Dec 22 '18

[removed] — view removed comment

2

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

What a ridiculous comment. Take your tin foil hat elsewhere.

2

u/itsme1704 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

I submitted my credentials a few weeks ago and never rec’d a response or flair

2

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Hi, sorry about that. Please resend and I'll make sure you get verified

1

u/itsme1704 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thanks, will do!

3

u/VonRoderik Bachelor of Biomedicine Dec 22 '18

Thank you. We will be able to trust more on some comments. great idea

1

u/BillHuan Physician Dec 22 '18

How do I verify my credentials?

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18 edited Dec 22 '18

From our sidebar:

If you would like to join the /r/AskDocs verified contribution team, please send the Mods a message with your profession and a form of verification via an imgur.com link. Click here to see an example. Please be sure to remove any identifying information from your verification document before submitting. This includes: names, contact information, ID Photos, certification numbers, etc... We want to protect the identity of our submitters by keeping them anonymous.

1

u/BillHuan Physician Dec 23 '18

I’ve snapped a picture of my certificate but I don’t know how to send it to the Mods.

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 23 '18

Upload it to imgur via this link: https://imgur.com/upload and paste the link in a message to the mods: https://reddit.com/message/compose?to=%2Fr%2FAskDocs&subject=&message=

Make sure all identifying information is covered and remember to delete the image after you recieve your flair

1

u/[deleted] Dec 23 '18

[removed] — view removed comment

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 23 '18

Oops, you posted this as a separate comment. What you sent is acceptable, you are now verified

1

u/BillHuan Physician Dec 23 '18

Oh ok. Thanks again! 👍🏻 ( still new to Reddit )

1

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 23 '18

No problem!

1

u/CutthroatTeaser Physician Dec 24 '18

Really a smart idea. I appreciate this so much, both as a person who answers questions, but also asks some :)

1

u/legendfriend Rheumatology Research Fellow Dec 27 '18

I agree this is the right way forward

1

u/whale_floot_toot This user has not yet been verified. Dec 30 '18

Are CNAs considered medical professionals?

1

u/MooJuiceConnoisseur This user has not yet been verified. Jan 05 '19

Is there a flair for "Civilian" or something along the line, instead of seeing constant "this user has not yet been verified" flared maybe make it Civilian or Non-Medical

1

u/420Gauntlet This user has not yet been verified. Jun 12 '19

Do medical students have to get verified to say they are medical students?

1

u/Malak77 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Great idea!

1

u/Lamzn6 This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thank you so much for finally doing this.

1

u/cuteman This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Well.... Nobody should be doling out medical advice here anyway.... Right?

1

u/B3qui This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

i apologize if this is off topic, but can anyone direct me to a subreddit where people can ask questions about health insurance? thanks!

1

u/AdultEnuretic This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

I have a question about what might be considered unconventional credentials. I've noticed people with credits that aren't exactly medical degrees, but are related.

Likewise, i have an unconventional credential. I'm a multiple degree holder in the biological sciences, and for a number of years I taught medical and pre-medical courses at the college and University level. I've taught various levels and versions undergraduate and graduate courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and biological statistical analysis. I've also performed some surgeries in an animal research setting, and necropsies in a wildlife research setting.

My point is, I'm not a Dr. and not a lay person. Is there a way I can fit into this board credential wise, and if so, whom would I send information to, and what information would it be good to provide?

0

u/Dvdrummer360 Founder Dec 22 '18

Hello, we'd be happy to verify you. We have 4 categories of flair and you would fall under advanced degree professional. You can read more information in our sidebar. Here's how to get verified-

From our sidebar:

If you would like to join the /r/AskDocs verified contribution team, please send the Mods a message with your profession and a form of verification via an imgur.com link. Click here to see an example. Please be sure to remove any identifying information from your verification document before submitting. This includes: names, contact information, ID Photos, certification numbers, etc... We want to protect the identity of our submitters by keeping them anonymous.

1

u/AdultEnuretic This user has not yet been verified. Dec 22 '18

Thank you. I'll read through that.

-3

u/[deleted] Dec 21 '18

[removed] — view removed comment