Repeated refusals to post a cite to a claim

The late unlamented greenslime was notorious for this during his short tenure, but I see it quite a bit. And I think that repeating claims that can’t (or won’t because the poster is too lazy) be backed by cites (even of a really dubious nature) should merit Warnings, and eventual banning, unless the poster acknowledges that the material constitutes opinion and not fact.

Have we discussed this before? If so, please point me to a thread to browse. I don’t want rehash something that was already given serious attention but I happened to miss.

Meh. I think that when people consistently refuse to back up their claims with evidence, it’s obvious enough who won that round. We don’t need a scorekeeper, as it were.

I do sometimes wonder about offline cites. If someone says X is true and you can see for yourself on page 45 of some book that will never be digitized, what do we do? Accept their word for it? Find a disinterested party to go to their library and check? I dunno.

It’s obvious to most – it’s maybe not to the person who isn’t citing. Also, I find their smug refusals, often included with backhanded and indirect insults to the people asking for a cite, to be poor behavior and particularly annoying – breaking the “jerk” rule.

Yeah, if its not on the interwebz it can’t be true. Can’t trust those papery book things. That’s grandad technology, from the dark ages before anybody knew anything! Stuff is only true if it’s in da Wiki.

Requests for cites are often made very jerkishly around here. Plenty of people know lots of things of things that they can’t readily provide cites for. If you are more or less an expert on some topic ( and plenty of people around here are just that), or even if you once studied it in some depth, even if you haven’t kept it up, there are lots of things that you know, and that you even know to utterly basic and beyond reasonable question to anyone in the field, that you can’t remember where you learned. When you are are in that position and someone who clearly knows nothing about the field in question peremptorily demands a cite it feels rude and offensive, and certainly it is absurd and rude to expect someone who has made a brief, casual post on a message board, for fun, and in order to be helpful, to spend the many hours that it might take to ferret out citations for claims that they knw perfectly well are true.

Yes, there are circumstances where it is jerkish to refuse to provide a cite, but, equally, there are circumstances (and ones I have certainly encountered more than once around here) where it is jerkish to insist that one be provided.


Well, let’s just suppose I wanted to keep score. If I post something like;

Reality 1, PosterName’s Repeated Unverifiable Claims 0

Will I get a mod warning?

It’s called sarcasm.

How greenslime behaved was clearly jerkish behavior. But I don’t think there’s any doubt he would have been banned if he stayed around. The gap from “I don’t have to provide cites” to “anyone who disagrees with me is a poopyhead” is so small that few jerks can resist jumping it.

Chimera, IMO the best thing to do is not insult back while making the jerkishness clear. They’ll ban themselves without you having to worry about warnings. (Besides, stupid opinions remain opinions and can’t be backed up by a cite.)

Perhaps I misunderstood you. I took you to be saying that citations to offline sources are insufficient, or deserve to be treated with at least a degree of suspicion.

The fact is that most of the most reliable, authoritative information is still only to be found offline (and some of it is only readily to be found, in the desired bite sized chunks, in the heads of experts). Even amongst that which can be found on line, much of the most authoritative is behind paywalls.

Beats me. I imagine if you did it often, it would be like when Blake had the lovable habit of reposting the same question with a count of how many times he’d posted it without getting an answer.

I got that it was sarcasm. What I didn’t get was how it was related to what I was talking about.

All cites are treated with a degree of suspicion. If someone cites something I’m interested in, I click on the cite. That’s treating it with suspicion. And how many times has someone posted a cite only to have 10 other people come back with, doofus, your own cite disagrees with you. When the cite does not exist in a form that’s easily accessible, we’re forced to either assume that the poster is accurately representing the cite or find some way of independently verifying the accuracy ourselves. On the rare occasion a text that I own is referenced, I’ve looked up the citation to see what my copy said or to look at more of the context.

But none of this implies that non-electronic information is somehow deficient in accuracy which appeared to me to be the main thrust of your post.

Previous thread on subject.

Interesting that thread was also inspired by greenslime. There’s another thread where it’s been going on for a while today, and I see it several times a week. I suppose I want the Mods, if they don’t want to make a specific new rule, to be more zealous in applying the “jerk” rule for cases like these. At least 3 posters, not including me, have asked the … claimant for a cite, and who has responded with contempt and dismissal

I think such a thing falls fair and square under the jerk rule, for what it’s worth.

Wasn’t Greenslime the one who, upon being asked for a cite, provided one to Conservopedia or something like that? I mean, is this really about the cite?

That was a thread that no one had reported, so no moderator had seen. Someone finally reported it this afternoon, and I just wrote a mod note.

I am not commenting on this in terms of a broader question of “is this breaking a rule or not, and if so, what rule” – too many variations, and different expectations in different forums. I sure as hell am not going to guess how this would have been moderated in GD.

In this case, though, it deserved a mod note, and I wrote one.

When in doubt, as always, report the post and let a moderator deal with it, don’t start snarking back and forth at each other.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

The reason I didn’t report is that I wasn’t sure who or if anyone was breaking rules – which is why I posted the issue about refusing to cite here. In fact, I thought the exchange was a problem even before there was an exchange of barbs. In fact, only two posters IMO exchanged personal comments, the others were very calmly explaining why they wanted cites.

Twickster, if you wold answer this?.. Suppose everyone avoided personal insults. One group merely disputed the claim and asked for cites, and the person on the other side responded with contempt to the very idea that the claim could be wrong or that any cite for it was needed – would that have merited action from a Mod? In that or any other forum?

I dunno about a cite to Conservapedia. I lost track of how many times I saw someone ask for a cite, and I never saw him provide one. So as far as I’m concerned it’s not about a link to an unreliable source.

Perhaps I should have used the sarcasm tag. (And perhaps the intended sarcasm was not called for, sorry.)

I’ve responded to that there but I have to feel that someone is gaming the system and using you as their enforcer. I don’t see why you should have to know the circumstances of a very complicated situation and I don’t hold it against you at all that you don’t, but honestly to anyone who does understand the situtation it’s almost offensive to be asked for a cite. Again, not at all your fault but I’m trying to explain how well known this stuff is over here. Put it this way: If the user demanding cites actually lives in Ireland with his/her extended family and has done for a while, rather than having Irish heritage and watching from afar, then I honestly think the questions are in bad faith. It’s that obvious.

Not that I ever expect Brits and Yanks to agree on how to moderate contentious Irish topics from the last century.

Such a shame.

Specifics are easier to deal with than hypotheticals. “Is this a problem” is almost inherently easier to answer than “would this be a problem.” When in doubt, report the post and let the mods sort it out. We don’t need you to suggest a specific ruling for the label you want us to put on a problem – all of the mods are completely okay with reports that say “not sure if any rules are being broken here, but you might want to take a look at this.”

IOW – I don’t want to be pinned down as to what I would have done in situation X, Y, or Z – but I will suggest that someone taking a tone of “contempt” will generally get at least a suggestion that he or she dial it back a little.