Pat, Robert, and all:
I am sorry to say that I have substantial concerns about the direction in which these forums are headed. I am not here to bash or instigate, but to candidly lend my thoughts regarding the site's underpinnings.
I found this website while on the verge of potential disaster. Unbiased posts and pictures directed me to a first rate doctor and a fine hair transplant. I was easily able to distinguish those who were promoting or advertising from the rest, and evaluate their expressions accordingly. Frankly, I find self-promotion and puffery unprofessional and it turns me off. Those reps who crossed the line from fair and balanced posting to blatant, unsubstantiated self-aggrandizement only hurt their own doctor's cause in my eyes.
The very power of this website to educate and guide the public lies in its unrestricted, unbiased nature. Any and every doctor or patient on the planet Earth can post pictures and experiences here. If some choose not to, that is their own prerogative. However, the marketplace of ideas must remain free from artificial adjustments.
I was troubled when the no-outside-links rule went into effect, but am far more disturbed by new positions such as<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>. . . many of these top notch physicians have not gotten the attention they deserve on this forum. Instead clinics that have hired patients to work full time advocating online for them have been getting the lion's share of attention. This is simply not fair to them or the visitors on this site. . . . Robert will not only be moderating this forum and the new live chat but helping these gems in the rough physicians to get more presence on this forum. and <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>. . . the Coalition physicians are the reason the site is here. . . . several highly skilled physicians are not getting recognition on the forums and to alleviate that, I'd like to get them more involved and showcase their work. Call it what you will, but the day this site backs, endorses, assists, exposes, pushes, "helps" or "showcases" doctors is the very day that it loses its credibility. Had I, at the time I discovered this site, seen it as part of a "coalition" "helping" certain paying member doctors and "showcasing" their work I'd have moved on in three minutes or less.
What a shame.