What makes you (dis)believe a SDMB story?

I posted the story of my friend who was injured in the Unitarian Church shooting here http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=477344

I fully expected people to not believe that I really knew someone who was there, or challange me or at least say ‘CITE’

But no one did. The story is totally true, but why did people automatically believe me when I KNOW that dopers are a skeptical bunch?

This brings up the larger question of why some tales are accepted and others are strenuously challanged. What makes you believe posted story?

When the story seems to change throughout the telling. That’s when I disbelieve a story. Also, if I feel it doesn’t pass the “come on” test.

Your story stayed the same and it wasn’t anything fantastic (like your friend tackled the gunman by herself). Your friend got down and left as quickly as possible. There’s no desire to yell “Come on!”

That is a good question, in my case, the story sounded believable and I could see no reason why someone would make up a story like that. If it was false, I did not see that it mattered anyway.

Even if it was not your friend, there was probably still another mother that had to go through what she did. It was a sad story whether you knew a person there or not.

Usually for me, I tend to trust what people write unless they contradict themselves or are self-aggrandizing.

Jim (I hope your friend recovers fast and her kids quickly put this behind them.)

I think it all depends on the tale bing told and who is telling it. I generally trust what people say because I understand that memory only accounts for a percentage of the validity of a story, no story is entirely accurate. But like others have said if the “Come On” bells go off, "My Bullshit Metere Went off", then I tend to question…but it takes a lot for me to become untrusting. It’s a sense thing as well…

Red flag signals:

  1. Self-aggrandizing;

  2. Overly dramatic (even self-depricating);

  3. Story changes in the telling;

  4. Story implies teller has specialized knowledge of a field, which teller notably lacks;

  5. Story is a too-convenient anecdote to illustrate some point teller is making heatedly;

  6. Story seems designed to elicit sympathy and/or congradulations from Dopers.

Hey, autz, haven’t seen you for a while!

Howdy, m’am. I stopped posting for a looooong time but never stopped lurking.

I usually believe because there’s no harm done if it turns out they really were lying: I am no worse off for having been duped.

There are a few posters I sometimes think are full of shit, but that’s because of an aggregate impression, not any one story. And, in any case, I don’t plan on calling them on it because no one can prove anything and it doesn’t really matter.

Simple. Your nose didn’t grow.


I sit pretty close to the monitor and I didn’t get poked in the eye.

I pretty much believe every personal anecdote I hear. I am aware that memory is pretty tricky, so of course there are details embellished or misremembered, but that doesn’t really make the person a liar. To an extent all of our memories are full of holes that our brain fills in without us really noticing. So even inconsistencies in stories don’t really bother me. The truth about an event is often a lot more complicated and multi-faceted than our pitiful attempts to narrate it.

So, yeah, I’m totally gullible. I once had a guy (who had never visited my house) tell me he’d written something on my ceiling. Yeah, I looked up. I also had a boyfriend who told me he’d earned a basketball scholarship at Duke University. Yep, believed him too. You think I’d learn, but I don’t think being a trusting individual is necessarily a bad thing.

And here is exactly my point. I’m sitting here explaining how trusting I am when I have clearly stated in other threads that I am mistrustful of people. Both are true, because we’re talking about two completely different levels of trust. I wasn’t lying either time. Reality is bendy.

If important details have to be dragged from the storyteller with an effort comparable to pulling teeth, I lose patience and stop caring if the story is true or not because it’s gotten tiresome.

Well, the other day, Barack Obama was going on about the wild night he’d had with Angelina Jolie, and I knew he was BS’ing me 'cause she was with me that whole night.

OW! My eye! I’m blind!

Poster A: Questionable anecdote
Poster B: “Cite?”
Poster A: Another questionable anecdote

snort :smiley:

There actually haven’t been many times I’ve felt someone was pulling my leg here (and usually someone else has said something before things get whiffy to me), but like others have said, it’s kind of an aggregate feeling - something just doesn’t add up. It’s like I try to imagine what they’re saying in real life, and it just doesn’t seem likely.

Of course, you never know if you’re right or not, because you never get any confirmation one way or the other.