Does accusing someone of lying violate the rules if the person did, in fact, lie?

This is a completely hypothetical, curious question, not related to anything that’s happened yet in real life on the Dope:

Suppose John Doe the Doper (…John Doeper?) claims, “I have never supported Joseph Stalin in any way or form on this message board” and then another Doper chimes in, “well, you’re lying, because just last week, you did in fact support Stalin…” and proceeds to link to a cite of an SDMB post by John Doeper in which he did, indeed, say, “I support Joseph Stalin”…does that still violate the rules?

I am not a moderator, but I would say that it still violates the rules. Accusing someone of lying does nothing to move forward a debate or any other conversation – what’s the point in that particular accusation?

Instead, I would say, “Just last, you said you supported Joseph Stalin. Can you explain the discrepancy?” And, I would provide a link to the other post if I could.

An accusation of lying implies that the person is knowingly deceiving you. Maybe last week, they were drunk when they said they supported Stalin. Maybe they’re drunk now when they say they don’t. It’s akin to an accusation of trolling – you’re claiming that they are posting in bad faith.

I think it’s fine to report their posts to a moderator, if you think they’re trolling or otherwise posting in bad faith, but there’s no reason to bring it into the thread (outside of the Pit).

Man, I came into this thread all ready to bitch about how “no calling people liars” is a stupid rule. But then your post completely destroyed all the stupid points I was going to make.

Hey, don’t lie to me! :smiley:

This thread brings up another thought – it’s just not hard not to accuse someone of lying. Similarly, it’s not hard to avoid calling people names, it’s not hard not to argue in bad faith; it’s not hard to provide cites.

I came close to getting a warning once, with some satiric answer (“That’s right up against the line! Everyone better calm down!” <-- some mod). But, that’s as close as I’ve come – no actual warnings. The rules aren’t very difficult to follow, unless one is trying to dance the line.

What if you call someone ugly: Can you use their profile pic as evidence that they are, in fact, ugly, and so it doesn’t count for the “no-insults” rule?

Seriously, any time anyone insults anyone else, they’re going to say “But it’s true!”. If the rule were “no insults unless it’s true”, then there wouldn’t be a rule against insults at all. And it’s not even necessary: You can still point out the perceived lies, and readers can still draw conclusions from that.

The idea is to attack content, not character. Refuting a poster’s statement by pointing out that he posted something contrary a week ago is not a violation of the rules. Making a value judgment and attacking the poster for saying he is a liar is a personal attack.

It depends on the situation.

If it’s just a personal matter of whether someone is a liar - as in the cases being discussed here - it’s not a big deal. But whether the other guy is arguing in bad faith and is using dishonest tactics to their advantage in the discussion at hand, it’s a much bigger deal.

As one offhand example, suppose a poster responds to flaws in their arguments by simply switching their arguments without acknowledgment, and instead insisting that this is what they meant all along. This can be very frustrating to deal with, and the effectiveness of the technique is boosted by the opponent being unable to call it out for what it is.

The “no accusations of lying” rule has the effect of giving free rein to dishonest posters. (Note: this is independent of whether on balance it’s a good rule. It might be the rule is worthwhile anyway. But it has a significant downside.)

You’re always going to have posters who move goal posts, who do the Gish Gallop, who don’t respond in good faith. If you think they’re doing it in order to stir up trouble, report them for trolling. And, feel free to pit posters who do that – I’ve done just that.

Within the thread, I’ve basically said that I don’t understand how the poster can hold both of these positions, and until that’s clarified, I don’t think any further discussion will be production. Basically, I walk away from posters who are doing those things. I’ve also reported posts that I think are in bad faith, and they sometimes get moderated as such.

If a poster repeatedly lies or doesn’t engage an argument honestly, I’ve seen them get mod-noted, warned, or thread- and topic-banned. That’s for the mods to do. As a poster, accusing them of lying, or bad faith, or trolling will do nothing but turn GD and P&E into the Pit.

I never really thought about it before, but can you say “I don’t believe you”?

Yes, I got one of my two official warnings for this.

There is no rule against including an accusation of lying in the Report function letting the Mods know what is going on. The rule only prohibis public accusations of lying.
There is no rule against asking for a point to be clarified, presenting one’s own evidence (preferably with citations) in contradiction.

In the OP example, I’d say “this appears to directly conflict with this other post you made [cite]”, and I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t run afoul of the rules at all.

Well, if Joe says something to Fred, and Fred looks Joe in the eye and says, “I don’t believe you”, he is essentially calling Joe a liar because of the word, YOU. He could (should?) instead say, “I don’t believe IT.”

Again, the difference is damning the content, not the poster.

This seems like a distinction without a difference. Suppose a poster says: “I have never supported Trump” (when he was singing his praises last week), is there really any difference in the semantic content of the following:

You are a liar.
vs
That is a lie.

I don’t believe you.
vs
I don’t believe that.

There are many practical reasons that reporting things like this to moderators is likely to be ineffective (time delay, lack of a clear rule against actually lying and resulting high bar for intervention, and others). In addition, some people find whining to moderators unpleasant and won’t do it.

“I don’t believe you” is, IMO, an accusation of lying. “I don’t believe that” means that you think the statement is false, but you’re stating no opinion on whether the poster is intentionally deceiving you.

I hope this won’t run afoul of the rules here in IMHO, but a recent example was that a poster claimed that Trump cleared the protesters in order to inspect the damage at the church, not for a photo-op. I don’t think that poster was just making that up – he or she likely heard it from somewhere. So, the right response would be, “I find this hard to believe, and all the news I’ve seen is that he went for a photo op (cite, cite). Can you provide a cite that he actually went to inspect the church?”

So, in that example, while I didn’t believe the poster, it wasn’t that I thought he or she was lying, but just misinformed.

You are a liar and that is a lie are equivalent, in my view. They both imply that the poster is intentionally deceiving you. Similarly, “I don’t believe you” has the same implication – “I don’t believe [you’re telling the truth]” or I don’t believe [you mean what you say]".

“I don’t believe that” means you think the statement is false, but you’re not saying the poster is intentionally deceiving you.

Somehow, I don’t see the distinction in this example. I believe that the second statement would still get you a warning.

It is a contextual thing and it is a non-attacking thing.

It’s always better to give people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they are misinformed or ignorant of the pertinent details of a situation. Or based on insufficient information that has come to light that they are not aware of. Yet. There’s any number of non-malicious ways to look at situations.

Then again, sometimes it’s active misinformation at work or even outright trolling.

This is a matter to be reported. Let your mods decide what’s going on there and take action accordingly. This could mean anything from asking for clarification, seeing a cite, or gently guiding through a note how conversations here should go. And if it’s outright trolling, well, they deal with that too. :smiley:

It’s okay to ask someone for clarification yourself. To ask for a cite on a statement or a claim. Be polite about it. As you would want yourself to be respected in discussions with others, likewise be respectful of them.

If you can’t be respectful of them REPORT IT. Do not attempt to mitigate this yourself.

Jenny
your humble TubaDiva
Administrator

I know it’s very very hard to believe but stick with me for a second. Despite what you may think it is possible to support one single thing that Trump does and not consider yourself a Trump supporter. I know I know it sounds crazy but maybe to that poster they don’t feel like they are being dishonest at all. Would it really be that difficult to just reference the previous post and ask for clarification rather than accusing of lying?

To me that type of post is more effective anyway. Calling someone a liar devolves into “no I’m not” “yes you are.” Dropping the poster’s own words on them and making them answer for it or slink away from it makes your point in a much more effective manner.