As a general rule the style of writing and presentations of facts should follow the style of Wikipedia. When writing or editing please consider:
- Less is more: The less text an article contains, the easier it is to read (especially important for patients with cognitive symptoms) and the easier it is to maintain. Articles that are too long should be split into several pages, or condensed.
- Accessibility: What is the general information you would need to know to understand this topic? (What you are likely to find on a typical Wikipedia page.)
- Specificity: What are the relevant research findings, context, detail or applications of this topic to ME and CFS? (What you are unlikely to find on Wikipedia.)
- Connection: How does the topic relate and link to other topics (and MEpedia pages)?
- Cite published scientific studies: Wherever possible when editing search PubMed and link to relevant published studies. For example if you were writing the page on Low dose naltrexone, you'd find the studies for fibromyalgia and Naltrexone, and can cite them on the LDN page, and take the opportunity to add a link to the study to the researcher's (Jarred Younger) page. You may also want to look for ongoing/future clinical trials - to find them, use ClinicalTrials.gov.
- Source quality: What is the quality of the source of the information? If it is a research study, was it a randomized double-blind trial? Was there a large sample size? What research definition(s) were used? Are there other studies that conflict with the results of that study? If a piece of information is without clear scientific support, it can still be included but must be clearly contextualized within the article as theory, anecdote or observation. (See also the MEpedia:Science guidelines.)
- Remember Wikipedia is not a reliable source: On many subjects, Wikipedia is an excellent trove of sources that may prove useful. However, by its own description, Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source:
"Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong...There are many errors that remain unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. Therefore, Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself."
- Instead, check claims on Wikipedia to see if they are verified by a reliable source. If they are, add the information citing that source instead.
- Neutrality: use a neutral, encyclopedic tone. Where a topic is controversial, present the primary viewpoint (neutral and factual), then add a separate section for 'criticisms' or 'controversy', citing evidence. Wikipedia's POV page may be helpful.
- Do not give advice: MEpedia does not give advice or recommendations. You may describe advice given by specific professionals or patient groups, if you make it clear who gave this advice.
- Medical hypotheses: If you want to go in-depth on a well-known hypothesis that may have only limited support in the scientific literature, consider starting a separate medical hypothesis page. For example: Methylation cycle hypothesis or Amygdala hypothesis or Mold hypothesis.
- Naming conventions: We have created separate pages for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and ME/CFS. On all other pages, the name used when citing scientific research is the name(s) the authors used in their study. The diagnostic criteria used can always be determined by looking at the original article. In general, it is not necessary to explain that the Fukuda criteria were used as the most common criteria; however it may be useful to describe when a study used either the Canadian Consensus Criteria, the Oxford Criteria, or another less commonly used criteria, particularly if it is helpful for contextualizing the results of the study, or when studies that used different criteria have conflicting results.
- Spellings: Generally, use United States English spellings, unless the context requires otherwise.
- Avoid copy & paste: MEpedia is bringing together the key resources related to ME/CFS, but where possible we should state facts, summarize, and cite and link to the source, rather than copy-and-paste content from other locations. Like in science and journalism, strong evidence and sources are vital, referring to the original. Copy-and-paste creates vast amounts of content that could be maliciously or accidentally edited - it is better to refer to the original.
- Copyright. MEpedia uses a Creative Commons license that allows all content to be reused freely. This means that if there is any work of your own that you do not wish to release this way, or any work by others that is not explicitly released, you should not add it to MEpedia. For more details, please see MEpedia:Copyright policy.
- If unsure, use the Discussion tab: Every article page has a tab marked "Discussion" at the top, where conversations and debates about the page can be held. If you are unsure about an edit, or how to make the change, or want views from others, just write in this talk page. For more information on using Discussion pages, see MEpedia:Discussion and collaboration.
- MEpedia:Science guidelines
- MEpedia:Article outlines
- MEpedia:Manual of style
- MEpedia:How to contribute
- Ten Simple Rules (Wikipedia, but applicable to MEpedia)
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A fatigue-based illness. The term CFS was invented invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control as an replacement for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Some view CFS as a neurological disease, others use the term for any unexplained long-term fatigue. Sometimes used as a the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, despite the different diagnostic criteria.
double blinded trial - A clinical trial is double blinded if neither the participants nor the researchers know which treatment group they are allocated to until after the results are interpreted. This reduces bias. (Learn more: www.nottingham.ac.uk)
Fukuda criteria - The most commonly used diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome, created by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC) - A set of diagnostic criteria used to diagnose ME/CFS, developed by a group of practicing ME/CFS clinicians in 2003. The CCC is often considered to be the most complex criteria, but possibly the most accurate, with the lowest number of patients meeting the criteria. Led to the development of the International Consensus Criteria (ICC) in 2011.
Oxford criteria - A set of diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome. These criteria focus on "fatigue" as the defining symptom.