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Old 05-09-2017, 09:50 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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I know we're not supposed to ask for homework help on the board...

...but I was taking a BS composition course courtesy of a bizarre client contract requirement, and during the Credible Sources quiz therein, I was presented with this question. I wasn't sure how to respond.

So, I figured, what the hell, sounds legit. Sadly, it appears I was wrong. I got a 90% on the quiz, which was more than enough to pass, but still. Can anyone help me understand my apparent mistake?

(This course, incidentally, is ridiculous. I got sent to the TIME Magazine lightbox photography website to select a photo about which I must write a descriptive paragraph incorporating each of the five senses, without resorting to metaphor. I think I'm going to pick the obviously-hammered lady lying in a fountain. The smell is easy enough to imagine; I'm not sure how she'd taste, but it still seems more palatable than the flaming Venezuelan man, if only because I don't care for my meat Pittsburgh style.)

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 05-09-2017 at 09:52 PM.
  #2  
Old 05-09-2017, 10:22 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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FAKE NEWS!

Credible or not credible for what purposes, and for what audiences?

I think SDMB can't be considered generally formally credible (e.g., as a credible source of news) because it consists mostly of anonymous information that can't be traced back to an established credible source. That is, facts presented on SDMB do not come with a verifiable "chain of custody" from their original (or known credible) sources to their posting on this board.

True, we do ask for "cites" a lot, but then the cite, rather than SDMB, becomes the credible source (and only if the cite itself is credible, which is not at all a sure thing around here).

ETA: Why do the authors of that quiz even assume that the student even knows what SDMB is?

ETA-2: WAIT A MINUTE! I just looked again, and noted that the question refers to Cecil's column, not this message board! That must tilt the scales a bit more toward "credible". But I don't know how "credible" he really is according to some possibly formal notions of journalistic credibility.

Last edited by Senegoid; 05-09-2017 at 10:25 PM.
  #3  
Old 05-10-2017, 03:26 PM
JohnGalt JohnGalt is online now
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What was question 9? or question 11? Was a list of news sites questioning their credibility?

Is this even a yes or no question?
  #4  
Old 05-11-2017, 12:50 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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Sounds like whoever wrote the quiz doesn't like the site. I can think of criteria where Cecil doesn't count as credible, but none where another more popular site wouldn't work better. (Or a less popular site if that's the issue.)
  #5  
Old 05-11-2017, 01:03 PM
manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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It's not credible from a research perspective because it's a random guy with no qualifications listed, and not even a real name that can be checked, answering mail from random internet users. It's not authoritative.
  #6  
Old 05-11-2017, 02:11 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
It's not credible from a research perspective because it's a random guy with no qualifications listed, and not even a real name that can be checked, answering mail from random internet users. It's not authoritative.
Then neither is an encyclopedia. Any encyclopedia. The best an encyclopedia can do is list the sources it used; as it's not a source of authority on its own, it can only say what the authorities say, and point you to them.

Which is the most Cecil can do, as you said.

Cecil Adams isn't as prestigious as Britannica, but Britannica doesn't cover all of the same things Cecil does, and it's tough to imagine any source as prestigious as Britannica even attempting to answer some of the questions Cecil has done a good job with, let alone an actual source of authority.
  #7  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:38 PM
manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Then neither is an encyclopedia. Any encyclopedia. The best an encyclopedia can do is list the sources it used; as it's not a source of authority on its own, it can only say what the authorities say, and point you to them.

Which is the most Cecil can do, as you said.

Cecil Adams isn't as prestigious as Britannica, but Britannica doesn't cover all of the same things Cecil does, and it's tough to imagine any source as prestigious as Britannica even attempting to answer some of the questions Cecil has done a good job with, let alone an actual source of authority.
I was taught to not use encyclopedias if possible because they are not usually primary sources, so I guess you are right?
  #8  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:48 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
I was taught to not use encyclopedias if possible because they are not usually primary sources, so I guess you are right?
But the question wasn't about primary sources. It merely asked if the Straight Dope column was "reliable", and I'd like to know why it was marked by this group as "unreliable".
  #9  
Old 05-11-2017, 03:56 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is offline
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
I was taught to not use encyclopedias if possible because they are not usually primary sources, so I guess you are right?
But, just like encyclopedias, or wikipedia, or even SD, using them to track down the primary sources is pretty useful.

Not saying that using SD as a primary source makes sense, but that you can get to many primary sources through it.
  #10  
Old 05-11-2017, 04:25 PM
manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
But the question wasn't about primary sources. It merely asked if the Straight Dope column was "reliable", and I'd like to know why it was marked by this group as "unreliable".
Well, considering how the actual question was whether or not it was "credible" any answers on why it is "unreliable" are irrelevant.
  #11  
Old 05-11-2017, 04:26 PM
manson1972 manson1972 is online now
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
But, just like encyclopedias, or wikipedia, or even SD, using them to track down the primary sources is pretty useful.

Not saying that using SD as a primary source makes sense, but that you can get to many primary sources through it.
Of course. Just like you can get to primary sources through Wikipedia but you wouldn't reference Wikipedia as a source in a paper. At least, I wouldn't.
  #12  
Old 05-12-2017, 12:54 PM
Drunky Smurf Drunky Smurf is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
But the question wasn't about primary sources. It merely asked if the Straight Dope column was "reliable", and I'd like to know why it was marked by this group as "unreliable".
But the question wasn't about the Straight Dope column. It asked about www.straightdope.com.
  #13  
Old 05-12-2017, 12:57 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is online now
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Originally Posted by Drunky Smurf View Post
But the question wasn't about the Straight Dope column. It asked about www.straightdope.com.
Where do you see the distinction? "www.straightdope.com" IS where the column is published.
  #14  
Old 05-12-2017, 01:11 PM
Derleth Derleth is online now
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Originally Posted by gnoitall View Post
Where do you see the distinction? "www.straightdope.com" IS where the column is published.
There isn't one, unless you think "Websites as on the Internet" (or whatever the Old Folks say these days) are magically worse than print material, and less credible.
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