Pointing out Inaccuracies=Personal Attack?


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JohnKSa
March 13, 2004, 04:24 PM
I, for one am happy that this site is frequented by people who are knowledgeable and gutsy enough to detect and point out obvious inaccuracies or inconsistencies in posts made here.

I've noticed that if a one person posts a crazy story full of inaccuracies and a second poster points out the inaccuracies, the second poster is accused of making a personal attack.

Is that truly the policy of this forum?

In one recent case, we see that the story (which was pretty far-fetched to begin with) immediately unraveled when subjected to rational analysis. But rather than deal with the issue of someone posting obvious lies on the website, the only action taken was to chastise the observant posters who noted the problems in the story and pointed them out and then to lock the thread, implying that the problem was those who recognized that the story was BS, not that the problem was someone posting BS in the first place.

If I make a mistake and someone points it out, that is NOT a personal attack.

If I post something that is obviously made up and someone observes that the story is a lie, that is NOT a personal attack.

Maybe I'm missing something here...

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pax
March 13, 2004, 04:52 PM
John,

I guess I'll field this one since I think I was the moderator you're referring to. :)

Situations like the one you're talking about are basically a judgement call. The moderators are not here to make sure people only tell the truth, or to enforce a point of view on the rest of the members. Our concern isn't so much with what people say, but with how they say it.

There's a right and a wrong way to call someone on it if the story they're posting doesn't ring true.

Wrong way: "You troll! That's a load of BS! Can you believe this garbage! I can't believe you're so idiotic you thought we would fall for that..."

Right way: "Wait a minute, this isn't making sense to me. Are you saying that two plus two equals five? I'd have to see a lot more evidence before I'd believe that..."

In the thread you've referred to, I saw a lot of people kind of right on the edge between the two approaches, which was why I posted reminding folks not to attack. In retrospect, perhaps I should have spelled it out a bit better so there would be no confusion.

Hope that helps.

pax

JohnKSa
March 13, 2004, 05:18 PM
pax,

I wasn't referring specifically to you, nor was my post the result of a single thread.

I've seen this sort of thing play out a couple of times with basically the same result. I've been involved in a couple, and I've been an observer in some.

The moderators seem to be fairly uniform in the way that they handle these situations which is why I didn't get terribly specific in my post and which is why I posted here instead of pm'ing a mod.

I think one of the main issues in this particularly sticky wicket is that the original poster isn't likely to take kindly to even implications of inaccuracy. In other words, even if the initial "probe" is polite, the person who started the whole situation by posting BS is very likely to get fairly wound up. Not too surprising since they've already demonstrated their lack of ethics by posting lies.

I realize that you folks aren't the truth police, and I'll admit that I don't have a real good solution for how this should be handled...

Thanks for the clarification on the policy,

John

P95Carry
March 13, 2004, 05:31 PM
I think I see pax' point .... but have to agree that it can be problematic. I have been (and am) mod and admin elsewhere .. I know how hard it can be deciding what is best or not ... not to mention the old ''trying to keep most of the people happy - most of the time!''.

The way I see it is, sometimes it is less what we say - as, how we say it ... sometimes even inadvertently we (innocently we think) phrase something ''carefully'', tactfully even if criticizing - and yet another party reads it at its worst! They respond defensively but succeed then in cranking up the temperature ... which can get to runaway status.

There is always I think this ''gray'' area ... not attack, per se .. but implied .. depending maybe on who reads it and interprets. Often tho it is possible to get a gut feeling that ''thermal runaway'' is imminent ... and so try and step in in time to prevent that.

I know exactly what John is referring to .. and mod' wise, it's a hard call. I guess the bottom line re THR is that if ''The High Road'' appears to be dropping a level, then maybe time to create a road block! :D.

Overall, I still think mods here do incredibly well .. because when you see some sites .... it is incredible anyone survives at all! The most noticeable thing to me is that, with no immediate exceptions that come to mind ... mods here have respect .. certainly from me ... and that seems a pretty good barometer, bearing in mind respect does not come to anyone automatically .. it needs earned.

Sorry to butt in ..... and waffle .. one of my many fallibilities! :D

pax
March 13, 2004, 05:33 PM
I think one of the main issues in this particularly sticky wicket is that the original poster isn't likely to take kindly to even implications of inaccuracy. In other words, even if the initial "probe" is polite, the person who started the whole situation by posting BS is very likely to get fairly wound up. Not too surprising since they've already demonstrated their lack of ethics by posting lies.
Actually, that's kind of a plus from my point of view -- because that, I can call people on. I mean, the mods can't necessarily figure out who's telling the truth and who's not any better than anyone else reading the thread, but we can certainly tell when someone is being out and out rude to other members.

Thanks for bringing this up, btw. It never does any of us any harm to double check what we're doing and why. Maybe some of the other mods will weigh in with their take on things, too.

pax

Yep... It's a conundrum wrapped in an enigma and smeared all over with grape jelly. No matter how you look at it, it's a confusing and sticky situation. – "Amish Bill"

tyme
March 13, 2004, 05:42 PM
You could probably be more direct about it than Pax's example. :)
You could probably call someone a liar (better "that's not true..." than "you're lying", because the latter implies malintent which may not be present), if you back up your claim with proof.
What's not acceptable is calling other people idiots because they "lied".

If people would think about what they write, there wouldn't be this problem. Imagine you're in a debate. Saying "you idiot, ABC is not true, and you're a plague on society" is not going to go over well. Saying "That's not true because (a)... (b)..." is obviously more effective.

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