A bit of advice for all Dopers.

And I do mean all, this is not directed at anyone in particular. I really have no idea what forum to put this in; if any Mod feels it not appropriate for ATMB, feel free to move.

Dopers, please, if you’re going to argue something, be sure you have as many facts as possible before proceeding. That would save everyone a lot of trouble and possibly keep you from looking like a fool.

That’s very good advice, Jeff Olsen. Did anything in particular bring this to mind?

I’m guessing a certain couple Pit threads. And yes, basically Jeff is right (assuming I am about the source).

But what if someone doesn’t have all the facts (cites) at the moment. Is it not alright to give an opionion about something that a doper knows something about? Or a doper possibly has information pertaining to a post within that thread, is that not alright? I assume that within this message board all members are allowed to state opionions and personal experience whatever or whenever the occasion arises (to an extent: IE abrupt or violent threats, abuse, or otherwise off hand remarks). Or am I wrong?

Can a doper not express an imedieate discourse towards another post? I understand that there up-teen posts per day and that you cannot thread “every little thing that rubs you raw” in the BBQ Pit. However I think that being able to agree or disagree with someone is what this board is all about, with or without facts at the moment.
Isn’t that part of stomping out ignorance?

It is all right to give an opinion on something on which one is knowledgable. It is not a good idea to give such an opinion without corroboration. Most of us do not know each other offline. You may be an expert in your field, but there’s no way for anyone else to know that; ergo, you need to back up claims you make. This is where the facts come in.

There’s nothing wrong with opinion and anecdotal posts. It’s helpful that someone who has had the same personal experience can give advice based on what happened to them. That’s not the same as making a claim based on no facts. If you make a statement of fact, you need to back it up somehow. What Jeff is saying is that before one jumps to what appears to be an obvious conclusion one should be in possession of as many corrobatory facts as possible to support their claim.

No. Being able to disagree with someone has nothing to do with stomping out the ugly spectre of ignorance. Refuting claims (or supporting them) with the use of facts is stomping out ignorance. You believe A, I show that A is incorrect based on these facts that I have thoughtfully provided. You now no longer believe A. Your ignorance on the issue of A has been eradicated. The realm prospers.

It’s a good idea to check your facts even if you are sure of them. I know that I have claimed to know some “facts” which turned out to be, err…, somewhat less than factual :frowning: in my early membership days.

Oh, and I can assure you that it is also a good idea to preview… (not that I saw something wrong in this thread - just another personal experience)
(sorry, no cite:))

WOW ! I feel like I am in pre-school ! Dan you really are the man! To bad more people like you aren’t running for public office.

Thanx Jeff !

Until I have more coffee, I cannot tell if you’re patronizing me.

Better yet, I’ll forgo the extra coffee and assume you’re heaping reams of bouncing praise.

As you were!

While we’re at it, not that I’m super-popular-man or anything but if you want me to respond to you, either use the quote button or spell my name properly -> Bruce_Daddy. Not Bruce, not BD, not Daddy. I only do vanity searches once a day to see if anyone has responded to something I said, and I only search on Bruce_Daddy.

I’d bet that Zen, and Coldie and NCB and others might do the same thing.

On preview, that looks a lot more snarky than I mean it too. How about a :smiley:

Brucie_Baby ( :wink: ), I usually scroll thru the front page of all the forums and all my subscribed threads. I rarely do a vanity search, because most replies to me come in subscribed threads.
Besides, I couldn’t search for NCB.

One other thing, half right answers. Sometimes people have a limited knowledge of something but miss a very important thing that only experience or very in depth knowledge would provide. When the more correct version is then posted, don’t argue the point. Just accept that there is almost always someone more qualified than you in almost everything. A lot of prolonged and pointless arguments could be avoided this way.

Those are the obvious examples, yes. There are others I’ve noticed in the Pit, MPSIMS, and even the Café, some of which I have not participated in. I’m also guilty of not checking my facts, search back far enough and you’ll find me being a jackass regarding local geography. We all get caught up in the heat of the moment, spouting off because we think we’re right when we really aren’t. Such situations are best avoided but when they occur, the one who was being hot-headed with the wrong information should acknowledge that fact.

As for my OP, I was going for a polite way of saying, “Google is your friend. Use it before going off half-cocked.”

dan, thanks for handling cbm for me.

Actually, Google isn’t always your friend. Unless it’s the kind of friend that might deceive you.

Google can be used to find excellent information from reputable sources, but it has no way of discerning them from the sources of ill repute. So let’s not rely on it as the end-all of information retrievers, except in terms of breadth.

Google is like the Force. Use it wisely and for good, and you’ll get the information that allows you to prove your point while still being correct. Use it for evil and without constaint, and you may get false information from a slanted source.

Exactly right, dan. One has to pay attention to the sorts of sites Google takes them to before using any particular site as a cite. I recently posted a couple of cites regarding the mercury content of fish. I decided against using a cite from an pro-environment site and opted for the US Tuna Foundation instead. I felt the USTF would be more trustworthy.

I do understand the need to back up what we say,*if what we are saying is to be taken as the last word,*but what if one uses quilifiers? “I believe”, “I think” “I’ve seen” & so forth?
I know we don’t know each others creditials, but, how is one to know that the cites are always factual?
I agree with**Jeff Olsen,**I know I’ve seen many “axes” being ground on the internet posing as information sites.
This isn’t like a newspaper, or reference book, there are no general editors on the 'net. There are no truth in advertising rules. Anyone can say anything they please, and use any title they choose to lend themselves credibility.
Misleading, but sincere sounding information is worse, in my opinion, than an uncited anticdote.
If we restrict the free exchange of ideas and information by insisting on an internet search prior to posting, we all lose. I rarely would have web cites, because, I use books. I’m old, and never did like homework, but I respect and honor the truth. I’ll look it up, but usually in my own library.
I hope this doesn’t sound like a rant. It’s meant with all the respect in the world. (I try to attack the process, not the person)

Back in the 1980s, I did a lot of letters-to-the-editor stuff in my homeland. Someone would write something that I knew was anywhere from slightly bogus to all-out garbage, and I’d respond. But, those days, I’d use books. Reference books, mainly. But always trying to keep an eye out for biased sources.

I do similar around here. Google is a first, and in the main a good way to find a source of good objective information. The key word here, though, is objective. I also use book references – there’s no way I’d cut off from the path I’ve already come down, all these years.

That said – we’re fighting ignorance, here. Our own, and that held by others because of bad data along the way. And these are forums, surely for open discourse, but within the limits of the rules and guidelines.

I agree – where you’re shown that you’re incorrect as far as the facts you present go – keep an open mind. Learn. Then move on.

Ice Wolf The problem is rarely that the minds aren’t open, some are so open they have to tie a scarf around their head to keep it all from falling out. Then there are those whose minds are open, but the doorway is blocked by their unwieldy egos. :slight_smile:

I have some better advice, for most Dopers : Don’t get into arguments. The rest are too clever for us. Even the ones that believe the earth is flat.

Too right. But isn’t that the way life is in general? I think if this board was a perfect, perfect place where everything is expected, and we’re all so clever, erudite, exact with our words and read the same stuff – how artificial this place would be.

There’s going to be arguments and disagreements anyway. Heck, we’ve a Great Debates forum, haven’t we? The Pit, in many ways, is just the GD but with the coats and shirts off.

The good thing is to come in here, treat others with respect and be civil, and give your opinion/knowledge/gripe with the ring of truth. But we’re human. I’d lay good odds, and get return on the wager, that an OP like Jeff Olsen’s will pop up again next year too. This is, of course, a good thing, and part of what makes this community a thriving place: every so often, someone sane comes up to the podium, clears their throat, and reminds the rest of us in the melee of how things should be.

Thank you, Jeff Olsen, for the reminder.


Of course, we have to have the pit, its the playpen. we have to keep the kids safe somewhere:)

I, too, thank you Jeff Olsen If we’re not reminded that we’re not always right, we start believing we are.

I don’t think most posters read ATMB, and so your request is in all likelihood falling on deaf ears – literally, in a figurative sense. :slight_smile:

I have no ability to do vanity searches…“Dee” is not searchable, and if I read one more death ray joke by Michael <namesake>, I’m going to jump out a window.

So I’ll offer my workaround to this problem to you. Search by poster name, yours, from the last day and newer. My hunch is that is requires less hamster power due to the smaller scope. (I do this probably a few times a month, and set it to the last week instead of day, but we all have different habits.)

And since this seems to be as good a place as any, all are welcome to address me informally. “Ellis” is fine…including the “Dee” either in full or in acronym just sounds so formal. But no big deal either way, of course.