I guess I’m confused.
I have answered questions in my field of expertise, only to be told I should give a cite. In those cases the answers were not guesses, but from years of study and experience.
I understand that trust is also an issue. How is one to know if I am who I say I am.
If a google cite is inadequate, and education and experience can’t be trusted, what makes for an expert answer?
I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’d really like to know.
I often bypass questions I could answer, that already have several dubious, if not outright wrong answers, but I don’t want to be pulled into a disagreement over my sources.
I rarely use google. If I’m not completely sure, I’ll use a reference book. That said, if I’m not completely sure, I don’t usually answer at all.
I guess I’m confused.
picunurse, a web cite can be perfect if it’s reputable, by the same rules that make a book a good cite: If the person making the claims in the cite is reputable and is a recognized authority on the subject (for example, the FDA knows about fat content in food, but it would be completely out-of-school for it to comment on logging rights), it should go down well in GQ.
Personal experience is a bit more iffy, but if you’ve earned a position of trust here we’re willing to take more of what you say at face value. For example, Una (formerly Anthracite) is a recognized board authority on fuels of all kinds (especially coal) and power generation. She has given plenty of very good information here, and so we’re willing to trust her when she gives answers based on personal experience in that field.
This one time…, instead of trying to describe in my post a rather difficult procedure, I looked for a website that had the particulars listed. I found several sites with incomplete information and one that was flat out wrong! I did find a good cite site, so I posted that. So, there we have an example of the value of experience in linking to a site. (That’s why my OP and title used the word “merely,” you see).
I also believe that, sometimes, anecdotal evidence outweighs the printed word.
Not everything on the web is true. Remember Heaven’s Gate?
So, if you are indeed experienced in a discussed subject (whoever you are), I would hope that you post in that thread. Like was mentioned earlier, maybe prefacing it with, “Having worked with Hawking on his lattest paper, I found that…” and then continue with your ideas on milk vs flavoured creamer or what not.
Yeah, we’ll never be able to legislate this kind of stuff… :smack:
All you have to do is “Bump it,” if you want it to again be on the front page.
BTW, most posters who are not experts in the topic at hand will prefix their post with “IANA*.”
Not every question requires a relative expert. The extra information can be great from someone who knows their shit, but there’s plenty of cases where a simple google search was sufficient. How much math do I need to know in order to answer a simple question about calculus, for example?
Well, I thought my OP was pretty specifc about the type of questions involved. The type that DO require some sort of expertise or in depth knowledge.
This thread just doesn’t apply to run of the mill Qs that can indeed be answered by a cursory search or semi-educated guess. So please don’t assume I was talking about easy questions.
Your point is quite valid for the plethora of Qs where a “good enough” answer is acceptable.
Isn’t this against board rules?
Nope, unless you use it to excess, in which case it’s a violation of the rule against being a jerk.
Many times when I’m answering a question on a topic I know well, I’ll look for web pages that provide in-depth explanations or extra information to add to my response. That way, I don’t have to re-invent the wheel and/or put people to sleep with vastly more information than they may have been interested in getting, while giving others the option to read more if they wish.
Derleth’s criterion for a good web cite is fine in principle, but in practice it doesn’t necessarily hold for a couple of reasons: 1) Acknowledged experts usually write things for professional journals and typically don’t much care about putting their life’s work on the web for others to cite. 2) People can fall into the trap of thinking that a cite on a university-based web page, for example, is better than a cite based elsewhere, when in fact there is nothing that guarantees that the former is accurate and the latter is not.
Now, it’s my education and experience in Earth sciences that allow me to judge whether the web links I choose are correct/appropriate for the discussion or not. Hell, they form the very basis for my even thinking that I’m capable of responding to particular types of questions at all. However, I personally dislike the idea that I should have to somehow “prove” my level of knowledge to fellow Dopers, or preface everything I say with a statement of my qualifications, or what bigwig I used to lunch with, in order to answer scientific questions in GQ (or occasionally GD). That’s partly because it smacks of intellectual snobbery to me, and partly because revealing all my qualifications and experience in one place would make me distinctly recognizable to my peers and fairly easy to identify IRL by anyone who wanted to spend a little time digging around on the web. I don’t really want to surrender all my privacy, thanks.
If you want to take what I post with a grain of salt because you don’t know me from a hole in the wall and don’t have my c.v. in front of you, that’s fine and you’re welcome to do as you wish. But I don’t know what some of you seem to be expecting in terms of establishing someone’s expertise. And JHMO, a board culture that insists on vetting regular posters (not SDSAB members) for professional credentials or the like will find that a lot fewer “experts” are willing to respond. I enjoy having the opportunity to post on things I know about, in exchange for all the things I’ve learned from others on the board, but that enjoyment level will go way down if I feel like I have to defend my rep every time I post.
I think that all in all, we are doing pretty well as we are right now.
Noodles says here that a single bump is acceptable.