Is Snopes not to be trusted?

That’s DEFINITELY a matter of interpretation, not of fact.

It’s FAR from obvious that there was no United States of America prior to the adoption of the Constitution, and there’s nothing close to unanimity of opinion on this point among historians.

Again, I’m NOT saying John Hanson’s job was the same as George Washington’s. But whereas it’s EASY to confirm or disprove whether Michael Nesmith’s mother invented liquid paper or Fidel Castro played minor league baseball, it’s NOT so clear-cut whether John Hanson was President of the United States.

Snopes is very good at documenting facts, but less reliable making subtle distinctions.

Sounds like somebody got upset that Snopes was debunking all their stories, so they tried to start a chain mail debunking the debunkers. It doesn’t appear to have worked.

Hanson’s title was President of the United States in Congress Assembled. Abbreviating that to President of the United States is problematic. If you asked someone during the time that the Articles of Confederation applied what nation they lived in, they would give the name of their state. They wouldn’t say that they lived in the United States. There was no executive branch of the Congress. The Congress was the entire governing body. The Congress had a president, but that title meant more like Speaker of the House today. No one thought of the president as being the leader of the country. They didn’t even think of Congress as being the government of the country. They didn’t think of the thirteen states as constituting a country.

I hate this particular issue. It’s nothing more than a fancy equivalent of a bar bet, where the wording is shaded in order to make a ridiculous answer correct.

I’d like to see some cites about reputable historians disagreeing on this. I’ve read hundreds of books on American history and I can’t remember one that ever has called John Hanson the real first president. Every book I’ve read has additionally stated that the Articles of Confederation had no legal continuation after the Constitution was adopted.

As noted above, Snopes now has to battle with internet “facts,” with glurge deliberately shading definitions to prove a point, and to spammers and other thugs who prey upon the gullible. There is nothing subtle about the distinction between John Hanson and George Washington.

This is a myth that deliberately falsifies U.S. history. It needs to be stomped down wherever it appears.

I think they’ve been reasonably good, and well worth the subscription cost. What, they’re free?

The can be preachy at times, as shown by the Starbucks example before, and Barbara can be defensive when challenged. I’ve emailed a couple of times, and she came back snappy once.

They did make a correction after I emailed them. They had given an Undetermined status to one urban legend concerning Japan and the alleged imitation see-through skirts. I wrote in showing where they were wrong in one part and saying the items themselves are not actually sold. They did further research and changed the status to False.

Well, I would have believed it! :stuck_out_tongue:

Betsy Ross sewing the flag is a myth. John Hanson being President is, at worst, a misinterpretation. It needs to be explained not stomped down.


Guys, I don’t think we need an extended hijack about the John Hanson issue. This thread is about the accuracy of Snopes, not a debate about Hanson. If you want to discuss that further, please start another thread. Let’s try to keep this one on track.

General Questions Moderator.
General Question

IIRC, Snope also posted as True that Texas can split into several smaller states. Some agreement to that effect was around.

However, no state can unilaterally split without the consent of Congress. Any state can split with the consent of Congess- RI can split off from Providence Plantations I suppose. :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

So, Texas has no special ability to split.

The UL is false.

That being said- Snopes does go beyond just labeling the UL as True or False- they explain the facts and circumstances behind their thought process. Thus, although I agree that John Hanson was NOT the first President of the US, Snopes doesn’t just say he was- they explain the facts and circumstances, and thus a careful reader can see that really, the UL is false.

Even, “In the Butt, Bob” isn’t really true- it did happen, but the original wording of the UL is differnt than the actual words. It’s close enough so we can all agree that Something very much like the UL happened, but there’s room for debate on the wording.

So it’s a good cite, but their labels of “True” or “false” sometimes leave room for argument and nitpicking. If someone said “Well, Snopes said it was True”, I’d want to see the entireity of the cite, to see the whole story.

Of course, Snopes is not in a league with Cecil. If Cecil sez it, it is good as gold here. :cool:

Of course, they’re not trustworthy about everything.

Read the Snopes article. The claim that they investigate is entirely correct.

So when Snopes puts up the page about it, will the initial status be given as “Undetermined”?

So, my next step is emailing a link to this thread to my BIL. We haven’t had fresh meat here in a little while. :smiley:

I think Snopes is pretty reliable. I have only questioned one of their replies and it is to this Urban Legend:

That’s the one that states a teacher in New York gave out blue ribbons to the class, culminating in someone’s boss receiving one who gives it to his son who then proclaims he was going to kill himself that very night but the blue ribbon changed his mind, etc …

Since May of this year, snopes has declared this as undetermined but they say research is being done.
You’d think that snopes would at least qualify their statement by saying it has a lot of elements that could easily place it in Urban Legend territory.

• General statements - a teacher in New York. Well that narrows things down. It doesn’t even bother to say whether it is New York City or the entire state of New York.

• Unidentified characters - a teacher in New York (see above), gives it to one of her students who then passes it along to his father who passes it along to his boss who passes it on to his son. Well, that’s really detailed investigatory journalism.

• Dramatic ending - The boss’s son was going to kill himself that very night. This really sounds like an Urban Legend. If it had a less dramatic ending (the son admitted to drinking liquor, putting the dent in the new car, etc) it would be much more believable - and much more unlikely for this story to be passed around as much as it has.

Actually, I have it on good authority that this Urban Legend originated centuries ago by none other than … John Hanson :eek:

More accurately, that little boy who was going to kill himself but had his mind changed by the blue ribbon grew up to be… John Hanson.

And now, you know the rest of the story.

Thank you Hypnagogic Jerk for completing the rest of that tale.
It was a story that had to be told. :smiley:

Bwahahaha! When I was a kid, I used to stay awake at night, listening to the radio until I heard the King of Glurge Himself say those exact words. :rolleyes: :smiley:

I have found Snopes to be pretty reliable. They typically include sources at the bottom of their articles which is more than approximately 99.9% of email claims I’ve received have ever done.

It’s become pretty common for chain emails now to include a link to snopes as a way of legitimizing themselves. One particular one that I received had a link to an article that actually refuted every claim the email was making. I’m guessing the person that sent it to me didn’t take the time to read the link.

I opened this thread specifically to reference this comic. I’ve never been able to confirm it though. Does that couple really own spam servers and start their own urban legends? I didn’t even see that one on Snopes (contrary to the comic’s claim).

I’m inclined to trust Snopes because, ironically, they admit to being wrong on occasion.

More specifically, whenever I’ve noticed something wrong or misleading in their explanations they’ve corrected it immediately.

Therefore, if the information in a given article hasn’t changed for a long while, that means at the very least that there are probably not many experts in that field that disagree.

But of course, they aren’t perfect.

A totally separate reason for disfavouring Snopes though is the pointless moralising / psychology. They’ve done this for so long now that they have to do it for every article.

There could be an article about exploding pants and they’d have to begin it with “Few things are so sacred to us as our sense of privacy and safety within our own pants. There is a deep psychological need not to have pants explode…” :rolleyes:
<exaggerated to illustrate point>