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Why not do some research yourself? What do you think are some other contenders for best websites to see compiled research on individual supplements (especially unusual supplements)?

And once you've done this research, will you still believe that Examine's pages rarely deserve to be in the top 10 results on relevant search queries?

It's easy to compare something to abstract perfection, and find it wanting. But if you compare things to actual real alternatives, it's often easier to get a more realistic perspective. (General life principle, in my experience.)




It's the claim of you and others here that this is "the" best site on the topic online. It's up to you to back that claim up, not for other people to run around to get evidence to disprove it.


Also, it would be good to get back to the main topic of the blog post. Even if Examine is normally only 10th best, they should be appearing on Google's first page of web results.

I do happen to think that Examine is the best (usually). But even if you disagreed, probably if you did a thorough bit of research comparing them to alternatives in this important search space, you would agree that they are better than most of what is ranking ahead of them.


Here's some evidence. Anyone who has spent enough time researching supplements, that they could even conceivably name a better supplement site has agreed examine is the best.

And the only people who disagree are people who never done any serious supplement research

If you have a bunch of hockey fans arguing Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time against a bunch of people who've never watched a game and can't name a single hockey player it's pretty obvious who's right.


Except, of course, people have actually heard of Wayne Gretzky, and many people not hockey fans even know what he looks like (or did during his career).

It's not like some random, sketchy Canadian guy shows up, saying he's not being treated as befits a great hockey player, and when people go, "Uh, are you a great hockey player? I've never heard of you,..", in response, a bunch of randos appear on cure to say, "What?! Prove any better hockey player exists than John Smith in the history of the game in any league!"

Or, put another way, a bunch of angry randos doesn't prove anything. You get those turning up for anything online, from raw food diets to hexagonal water.


The difference being hockey is a giant sport, and supplement research is a very niche hobby.

I'm not trying to convince you supplements aren't bogus or even that examine is a great resource.

Just that the claim "there exists a better supplement site than examine.com" is a false one. Let me start with why do you believe this claim to be true or at least more likely than the opposing claim.


"The difference being hockey is a giant sport..."

Your choice of metaphor. But you're clearly not getting the point; what you imagine is "obvious" about your rightness really isn't.

"Just that the claim 'there exists a better supplement site than examine.com'..."

This is not a point I've seen anyone here arguing. It's definitely not a point I'm arguing. However, it's clearly a point you and the otherthe boosters of this site want to argue against - that's what's called a strawmen argument.

It's you boosters of this site who have been making the claim - without offering a bit of evidence or support - that this is the single best supplement site, that it's great and useful, etc. Not even not-terribly-convincing evidence, not even flimsy evidence, no evidence at all. Just your curiously consistent demands that we prove you wrong

It doesn't work that way. If you make a claim, then you back it up. If you try to punt the burden of proof to the people questioning you, it's obvious what you're doing.

Hell, for all I know, no good supplement sites actually exist and every single one on the subject is a crap site that deserves search blacklisting. So, it would be a complete snipe hunt to try to find a "better" site than any random worthless site. This would not prove what you imagine it proves.


"Not even not-terribly-convincing evidence, not even flimsy evidence, no evidence at all."

I've listed quite a bit of things I would consider to be strong evidence in favor of Examine being a high-quality supplements site deserving of getting high ranks in Google supplement search results. So have numerous other commenters in this comments section. The Examine employee, AhmedF, has as well.

So I'm curious- what would qualify as "evidence" for you? And why do none of the other points mentioned qualify as "evidence"?

I'm pretty baffled at this point as to what it would take. You ask for evidence, I think remarkably strong evidence has been provided by me and numerous others, and then you just seem to ignore it?

BTW, I think our discussion got mentioned on the Nootropics subreddit comments thread about this topic. (Examine's blog post is one of the top 10 posts of all time on that subreddit. People with a big interest in supplements consider this to be a BIG deal).

Our discussion was referenced here- https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/cpg1ha/over_the...

"God those comments represent the worst of hacker news. There is a giant argument about whether examine.com is the best website on supplements. With anyone who's ever looked at a supplement site arguing it's examine.com and people who've never looked at a supplement site in their life arguing that surely a better one must exist."


"I've listed quite a bit of things I would consider to be strong evidence in favor of Examine"

Charitably, maybe you've done so somewhere else on the internet. Taking a second to look at every post by you on this thread, however, the only thing you've listed are other sites that come up higher on searches. All of your posts have been demanding that other people prove wrong your flat assertions that Examine is awesome.

And I'm not feeling charitable at this point. I don't believe you're communicating in good faith. That you can dig up other woo-pushers on reddit (of course there's a nootropics subreddit...) doesn't impress me one bit. You said you were dropping it before, but I'm telling you I'm done with you now.


>Charitably, maybe you've done so somewhere else on the internet."

No, I mentioned things in this thread. And of course, so have many other people.

To copy and paste the simplest excerpt, and ignore a few minor additional bits:

>that they cite massive amounts of scientific papers, that they've been cited by the NYTimes and other media news outlets, the fact the post got hundreds of upvotes is its own evidence, the fact they don't sell supplements or make money from advertising, etc."

Examine, to the best of my knowledge, has:

The most social proof

Cites the most scientific papers

Has been cited by a number of neutral and relatively authoritative media outlets

Has the best incentive structure (just making money from selling guides)

Every competitor links to fewer scientific papers for the user to do their own digging, and appears to be less neutral in what they cite.

Every other competitor is ad-funded and assaults the user with ads. Examine does not.

Many other competitors also sell their own supplements. Examine does not.

Most of the competitors are backed by powerful corporations with a history of bad behavior in multiple domains (pharma companies, etc). Examine doesn't have this issue.

I'm also amazed that you have so far discounted the personal experiences of other people, involving a great deal of research and personal experimentation. That is normally considered valuable in most domains, especially something as personal as health.

I also consider it to be valuable that the company (via its employee AhmedF at least) is willing to participate in discussions. There is some degree of visibility and accountability there. I am not aware of any other informational websites which do this.

And previously before he left Examine, the redditor silverhydra was very active and accountable (and transparent, as far as I could see), on numerous subreddits, participating in ways which often had nothing to do with his business.

Anyway :). Hopefully this discussion ends up serving you in the long run, one way or another.

And if you're done, then have a wonderful time in this magical chemical world, however that works for you ~~.


So what are you arguing if not that examine isn't the best supplement site?


You and others here have multiple replies from multiple people, including myself, explaining this in detail. I'm beyond even trying to think that you're posting in good faith.


I went through your responses and none that I saw made any argument besides that the "boosters" provided no evidence. When in fact the thread is littered with people mentioning the quality of the site. The cited sources, the strong background of the founding members, recommendations from scientists, the New York times relying on their expertise.

So I think you might be mistaken about making a clear argument against examine. Most of the arguments you've made have been about what the appropriate burden of proof in an internet argument. But I wasn't able to find where you shed light on what your counter argument is or engage with any of the arguments the "boosters" have made.

Some people in the thread have engaged with the evidence arguing they aren't an authoritative source but most have them had misconceptions that were corrected.

The quality is high by any standards but particularly stands out relative to other supplement which is littered with fraud and ignorance.


Why are skeptics like you usually so freaking lazy?

If Examine wasn't great, it should be quite easy for you to find literally just one source that was consistently and objectively better.

The task of the skeptic is quite a lot easier. For the the fan, it's a lot harder- a fan like me would have to literally track down EVERY single alternative and show it was not as good as the thing we admire.

All you have to do, as a skeptic, is find a single better source. Much easier to do.

But I'm willing to do some of your work for you.

Here is a list of the websites which usually rank above Examine:

WebMD (which openly partners with pharmaceutical companies)

Healthline (originally launched in 1999, it owns Drugs.com, Livestrong, Greatist, MedicalNewsToday)

VerywellHealth (partners with the Cleveland Clinic, started as an About.com company)

Hospital websites (such as UMMC, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Sloan-Kettering, NYU, etc.)

Governmental institutions (NIH/Pubmed, CDC, ODS, FDA, etc.)

Other medical news sites (which are almost always owned by WebMD or Healthline)

Is any single one of those more credible and neutral than Examine, typically? Are their sources as comprehensive, and do they summarize things as cleanly and neutrally?

Does any one of them even have better moral incentives? Examine only makes money from selling informational guides, apparently. That sounds the best to me.


"Why are skeptics like you usually so freaking lazy?"

Because there are an endless number of fools, liars, and lunatics demanding that we do their work for them.


This is very simple, though. There appear to be two people competing claims here.

Me and other satisfied readers of a free website, claiming Examine is a great resource, and usually the best single resource.

And many of us have provided evidence- that they cite massive amounts of scientific papers, that they've been cited by the NYTimes and other media news outlets, the fact the post got hundreds of upvotes is its own evidence, the fact they don't sell supplements or make money from advertising, etc.

You (or other skeptics), saying it's not a great resource (while ignoring all evidence already provided).

And you are also providing zero evidence, despite the supporters of Examine providing a ton of evidence for why it is a high-quality and credible site.

By being skeptical, you are claiming something, right?

The claim you are making is much easier to back up. You literally just have to find ONE source which is usually better. We already did a lot of work, why can't you do some work?

And yet, you refuse to do that. You're being much more lazy than me. I've already tried things partly due to Examine's research, and I was satisfied with the results. And I paid nothing for those great benefits.

And then I shared my experience, for free, because I appreciate the help I was given.

All you have to do is find a single objectively superior source than Examine. (Or 10, if you want to actually address the original post).

I am not asking you to do "my work", which I have already done, I am asking you to do work to back up YOUR assertion.

Hell, I even provided you with some likely candidates to start your research, if you actually care to not be lazy.


"You (or other skeptics), saying it's not a great resource (while ignoring all evidence already provided)."

No, simply pointing out that it's your job in this discussion to present that evidence, not to try the frequently disingenuous tactics of "Oh, if you knew anything about this subject you'd know this is the greatest site EVAR" or "I'm saying this site is great. You have to do the legwork to dare to doubt me!".

I'm not claiming anything about the site that you're stanning for. I'm simply doubting the tales of rainbow unicorn farts and victimization by Google that people like you are pushing here.

But then, you are a very easy person to doubt. Your knee-jerk hostility to "skeptics" makes me think you push a lot of woo to anyone who has the misfortune to be stuck listening to you.


"No, simply pointing out that it's your job in this discussion to present that evidence"

I have provided evidence. (I've even included the unique evidence of personal experience. Hundreds of hours of research & experimentation- research on multiple websites- from someone with no vested financial interest, should count for something.)

I am also asserting that skeptics should also provide evidence. It's like in a courtroom- both the prosecution and the defense should provide evidence.

And again, the task for the skeptic is far easier- they only have to find a single superior resource, among thousands of possible contenders.

And if you want to be an effective skeptic, you should probably try to add some compelling evidence to your skepticism. It's in your interest to add evidence, if you are really such a big believer in your skepticism.

(I don't hate skepticism btw- normally I am a skeptic, that's why my nickname is "data_required"- I just dislike the lazy reflexive style of skepticism on display in this thread.)

And if I knew of other evidence to add besides what was in the comments section so far (having read all of the comments), I would add it.

The only other thing I can think of is that I know that the user "silverhydra" posts a lot on reddit, and is heavily involved with Examine. So I guess you can see a track record of how an employee of theirs behaves in an online forum.

"I'm simply doubting the tales of rainbow unicorn farts and victimization by Google that people like you are pushing here."

Why do you feel the need to exaggerate? How do you go from reading a claim of "great resource for information!" to "rainbow unicorn farts"?

Nobody has even asserted that Examine is the only site people should use, or that it is absolutely authoritative.

HN is filled with skeptics (compared to the general population), and Examine is clearly popular among skeptics. Maybe that should count for something?

It's not like anybody has claimed they used the site to figure out how to cure their own cancer. You know what I mean?

Also, nobody from Examine asserted that Google is trying to deliberately harm the company. (Nor am I asserting it.)

The blog post was a rather polite complaint, with evidence attached, that they had mystifyingly lost the prominence in search results which they once had.

And numerous people have documented that other search engines (Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.) have much more respect for Examine. It's a Google-specific complaint, and appears to be due to a generic update to their algorithm.


You're clearly not familiar with the "burden of proof" principle. Go ahead, google it, especially given that you mention legal cases. The person who makes a particular assertion has the onus of proving the same. Like one of the previous posters said, we are flooded with people making bullshit claims of how something like homeopathy "works" because they know it from personal experience, and we shouldn't have to be the ones to disprove nonsense like that.

> It's like in a courtroom- both the prosecution and the defense should provide evidence.

You're mistaken. In criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecution to establish their case beyond all reasonable doubt. The defence does not have to prove innocence; it merely has to establish there is insufficient evidence for a guilty verdict.


And actually, let's revisit the prosecution vs. defense analogy.

The skeptic is really more in the position of the prosecution. The fans are really more in the position of the defense.

The skeptic is basically saying the fans have committed a crime against truth. They are saying that the fans have something to DEFEND. (Hence, the fans are the defendants.)

And the skeptics claim is much easier to prove. It is far easier for the prosecution to prove that a crime has been committed (if it has been committed), than it is for the defense to prove that a crime wasn't committed (assuming no crime was committed).

The skeptics in this position SHOULD have the easier case to prove, which is why the burden should be on them.

Like I've repeated endlessly, and I even furnished the main competitors, if there are websites that are clearly better than Examine, that should be pretty easy to show.

Literally no human on the planet is capable of proving that Examine is better than every single competitor, though. There are thousands of other supplement websites.

You can't support the position that skeptics are allowed to show up everywhere, and voice skepticism of literally everything, and then suddenly that means that people who appreciate things must then be forced to prove things which in some cases are nearly impossible to prove. That is utterly ridiculous.

Skeptics should at least participate a little bit, if they actually give a shit.


You give skeptics a bad name. I am a skeptic yet I hold the belief that if you state the negation of a claim, then indeed you should support it with evidence. They did not do so.

I agree, allowing "skeptics" to make you prove everything is a waste of time.

I agree, examine.com is great because for everything I could find on it contained backed up statements on a single page. It is a great resource. I use it mostly for nutritional supplements.


"The person who makes a particular assertion has the onus of proving the same."

But both sides are making assertions. The appreciators of Examine and other resources, are not the only people making assertions.

And the assertion that Examine isn't the best- the skeptics position- should be far easier to prove.

For some reason, that one guy will go to great lengths to make the general case for skepticism, when the specific case for skepticism- that there are sufficient websites objectively better than Examine such that Examine shouldn't be ranked near the top- should in theory be much easier to establish.

But he avoids that at every turn.

"In criminal cases, the burden is on the prosecution to establish their case beyond all reasonable doubt. The defence does not have to prove innocence; it merely has to establish there is insufficient evidence for a guilty verdict."

Lol. As though the defense never provides evidence boosting their client. But thanks for telling me what anybody could ever tell you who has served on a jury, or had a class in basic civics.

Look, skeptics need to furnish evidence, too. The people who appreciate Examine have provided a ton of evidence. It is LAZY LAZY LAZY that every skeptic wants to avoid digging deep.

I've already DONE immense research on supplements and the websites providing information about them. So have many others.

None of the skeptics in this thread are people who claim to be familiar with this domain. They just want to act like they are superior know-it-alls because they can lazily tout the general merits of skepticism.

Just like the defense will eagerly provide any evidence of innocence that they can muster, it is in the interests of skeptics to furnish evidence that the skeptical position is warranted. But few skeptics in this thread seem to want to do that.

If they think there is something better, they should let the rest of us know. Or they should build it themselves.


The sceptic makes no assertion, he's asking you to prove your claim. No more, no less. Asking for proof doesn't mean asserting the opposite and even if you cannot prove your claim, it doesn't mean that your claim is incorrect. It just means you couldn't prove it. And sometimes one should just admit to be unable to prove a certain claim, even if it is correct, and change scope to something provable. Especially when the claim is unprovable to begin with, like "being the best" usually is.


Supplements aren't homeopathy. The research done on then and linked to on examine is scientific research. It's just not great scientific research, similar to the entire field of psychology.

Also "supplements work really well" is a very different argument than this is the best website on supplement research.

There is not a single person in this thread of 100's who can name a single source of better information on supplements.

How would you prove that a psychology text book was the best even if it was so obviously the case that anyone who had ever read multiple psychology textbooks agreed with you. And everyone who disagreed with you had never more than a skimmed one?


I'd say it's unprovable and that you should just accept that you cannot prove your claim. After all, you don't know every [X] and just this moment a new [X] could've been published, which is better than the one you claim to be the best.

Just change your scope to something provable if you want your claims to be believed by sceptics. For example "[X] is the best that I know." would work.


My use of the word prove shouldn't be read as the mathematical method for establishing proofs. But the conversational use of the word prove. As in what evidence would you like to convince you of a claim. Not the rigor of a mathematical proof but to the rigor of "convince me this is more likely than the alternative."

There are two competing claims "examine is the best supplement website online"(examiners) vs "there exists a better supplement supplement website online".(otherers) One of these is true and the other is false.

While lots of "examiners" have argued and provided evidence, but the only argument brought by the "otherers" is they they don't need to bring any evidence.


..which they don't. Burden of proof doesn't lie with them. They also never made any other claim, like you suggest. My takeaway from this whole discussion thread is that the site is sketchy. It might not be, but that's my impression as someone who hasn't heard of the site before. As I don't care for the topic the site covers either, I won't bother researching this myself and will leave it at that.


I can see that, but those of us interested in the topic have a lot of respect for examine. They tried very hard to make sure their incentivizes align with the readers (by selling subscriptions) when most supplement companies go for the far easier monetization strategy of selling or promoting supplements. They've worked with lots of great scientists and experts on nutrition. The quality of information on the website is high by any standard but especially high for the supplement industry which is filled with a toxic mix of fraud and ignorance.


Also, it's rude of you to keep downvoting my replies to you. If you apparently respect the discussion enough to continue it, you don't need to automatically downvote everything, especially when you refuse to put in any evidentiary work yourself.

Stop being so petty.


So that you know, in case you haunt this place in the future, posters here can't downvote direct responses to their posts.

That's other people doing that. When enough people downvote your posts, that's when they start turning lighter and lighter gray.


Also, to be honest, none of my comments shows as grey, but a couple of yours do. I don't get it. (I do have one comment showing as -1, previously -2).


Can't help you with that; every other post you've made is pretty faded to me.


"in case you haunt this place in the future"

I've "haunted" this place since the first day it existed (though with other nicknames), and will doubtless haunt it for years to come. I just normally lurk, not comment.

This was just a topic important enough to bring me out of the woodwork.

"posters here can't downvote direct responses to their posts."

I did not know this, thank you for explaining. Apparently someone is following our discussion and almost instantly downvoting me each time (I guess...)

I never experienced that before, so I thought it was you. My apologies, apparently you are not rude like I thought.


And I want to explain why I am so passionate about this.

Resources like Examine are amazing for lots of people. And the fact that they are free and credible, is incredible.

So I hate it when people like you are incredibly lazy, only doing cursory looks at things, and then pretend that those of us who have done hundreds of hours of research are the lazy ones.

Not only that, but people like you are probably scaring off lots of people who need help, from one of the few credible resources in the online space.

To me, you are not only lazy, your lazy skepticism is the sort of thing which will hurt lots of people. (Maybe you don't do so much damage by yourself, but people like you absolutely do damage sometimes. Sometimes your skepticism helps people. But sometimes your lazy skepticism hurts people, too.)


"So I hate it when people like you are incredibly lazy, only doing cursory looks at things, and then pretend that those of us who have done hundreds of hours of research are the lazy ones."

Then maybe look into how to present yourself as something other than a wide-eyed lunatic.

To me, if not mindlessly taking the word of an online hype squad sets them off, that's a big, red flag.


I think you need to allow people to be passionate about things which have helped them.

Hell, I'm not even as passionate as the typical sports fan.

And this is true, despite my not having to pay any money for information which has helped my sleep, concentration, athletic performance, social comfortability, empathy for others, etc.

Most people would pay tens of thousands of dollars for the benefits I've received. And I got those benefits with some free info, and a few hundred dollars worth of supplements.

So don't feel so shocked if someone has a positive opinion about the company which provided a lot of the "free information" part of that equation.

Anyway, thank you for the interesting discussion. One thing I've learned from supplement experimentation is that biochemistry heavily dictates the kinds of feelings and thoughts people are capable of. It's entirely possible we will be unable to persuade each other of much of anything, if our biochemistry doesn't make it salient to do so :).

Have a great day, wherever you are!!




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