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dpworkin's avatar

Misinformation on Fluther: Threat, or Menace?

Asked by dpworkin (27025points) April 3rd, 2010

Have you ever noticed blatantly misleading “information” on Fluther? How does it make you feel? What do you do about it? Does it hurt the community, or is it better to have an unfettered exchange?

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75 Answers

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Neither threat nor menace. I treat it like I treat wikipedia. Dubious at best without supporting data.

dpworkin's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Do you have the urge to correct it, if you are sure of yourself? Or do you just let it go?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Nope. I dont have the patience for that.

squirbel's avatar

@dpworkin :

I find it very dangerous, as this is not just a discussion site, but a place that you come to have your questions answered by an expert.

But this beast has changed forms many times since the beginning, and is no longer centered around that. Now, people just talk and discuss and say whatever they like. I miss the old days on Fluther. :/

buckyboy28's avatar

I take it with a large grain of salt. If something strikes me as blatantly wrong, I’ll research it further.

dpworkin's avatar

Have the mods any responsibility? Supposing someone were advocating an unsafe practice, or a fraudulent investment scheme?

dpworkin's avatar

(Disclosure: This will not surprise you, but it makes me angry as hell.)

gailcalled's avatar

Usually the adult community will move in, en masse, and let the querent know what is rubbish and what is accurate info.

Coloma's avatar

I think one can interject a correction of blatantly false or wrong info. without letting egos need to be right get in the way.

Personally, I don’t really care, I’m just here for amusements sake, not attached to gaining brownie points for being a know it all.

If it was something that is potentially damaging to ones health or otherwise seriously misleading I would share what I know from a place of integrity rather than arrogance.

FutureMemory's avatar

@squirbel this is not just a discussion site, but a place that you come to have your questions answered by an expert.

Who told you that?

squirbel's avatar

There’s no process for dealing with misinformation, the site is not focused on accuracy – rather – it’s focused on personal input.

@futurememory : You haven’t been a part of Fluther as long as I have. I fought against this machine, and even had my “lurve” reset to make a point.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I missed the “experts” thing too. Where did that come from?
Oh awesome. More of “this place was great until new people started coming in”. That makes people feel special.

escapedone7's avatar

I will flag anything that seems like it could seriously harm a person. If you tell a woman feeding her baby a mixture of bleach and whiskey will cure colic, I’m flagging it. Some of the ones that disturbed me were instructions to a girl how to commit suicide. Anything along those lines I flag flag flag. Some things are a matter of opinion and open for debate. If someone is suggesting a less than wise investment, not the same thing. I’d just give my opinion otherwise.

MacBean's avatar

We’re all Experts
Everyone is an expert at something.
Fluther learns what you know, and
finds questions just for you.”

bobloblaw's avatar

I’ve noticed most answers on Fluther are partly correct and partly incorrect. On the other hand, If the answer is blatantly wrong, I’ll point it out (especially if they get a “Great Answer”). I cannot abide absolutely incorrect answers. Especially if you can answer it w/some basic research.

ucme's avatar

It could be construed as a threat if a vulnerable individual were misinformed on a sensitive issue.Having said that it’s almost certain more accurate information would be forthcoming from the more informed among us.Therefore i’d see it as no more than an inconvenience quickly extinguished.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

It is neither. I can see coming to a site like this for advice, but you have to take what is said with a grain of salt. Anyone could say anything, claim anything that they wanted. If you are using this side as the end all and be all site for your answers, you need your head examined.

gailcalled's avatar

My sense is that this is more of an issue for the youngsters (age cut-off is 13) who don’t have enough experience in the sensitive areas of friendship, bullying, fitting in, being an individual and the concerns about sexual behavior.

hug_of_war's avatar

I think it depends on how dangerous the misinformation is. Sure it annoys me when someone thinks pronouncing pen and pin the same is “wrong” and or “for the uneducated” but chances are slim it will endanger one’s life. If someone asks about their health problem and I diagnose them, well that can be really dangerous. But in the end it is up to the individual to sort through the advice – just like anything in life. You can’t accept what everyone tells you at face value and free advice is generally not as secure as when you pay for a professional.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

If you ever find me doing such a thing, I beg of you and everyone else to please correct me. I do not take misinformation lightly. I would be horrified to learn that I promoted it personally.

As for others, yes, I will call them to the mat to support their comments. Though opinions are valid, they are best presented as opinions. They should never be represented as fact.

This is my opinion.

Coloma's avatar

@hug of war

Yes..I have no desire to ask for personal ‘advice’ on a public forum, if I have a problem I trust my own methodology or a close friend, professional.

I may share my wisdom or knowledge but you will never find me asking! lolol

FutureMemory's avatar

I bow to the almighty gods of elitism. Have mercy on my soul, I am brand new around here :/

Vunessuh's avatar

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with speaking up if something strikes you as incredibly misleading or harmful to other users. The last thing I want is someone I care about to be mislead or hurt by some schmuck when it could have been prevented.

squirbel's avatar

Stop being a smartass, you know I didn’t mean it like that.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s a good question.

For me it depends on the misinformation, and how certain I am that it really is misinformation, and after that, how dangerous is it—or could it be—to be acted upon?

Do you have any specific examples we could discuss?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

In any event i see it as a non-issue because the community seems to do a good job of regulating itself in terms of misinformation. If someone says something that’s outright bullshit, you can expect at least 5 people to correct them.

mangeons's avatar

If it is a very important question that could involve something bad happening if it was answered incorrectly, I don’t think you should answer unless you are positive that the information you are saying is correct, don’t just spew out whatever Wikipedia gives you when you search the topic. It could end up badly if you misinform the asker.

This question title sounds like a great horror movie. Threat or Menace?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy, generally I’d agree, except there’s so much economic and political bullshit that so many here seem to subscribe to because they happen to belong to that club. But since votes these days count for so little the harm is necessarily limited.

Berserker's avatar

I myself don’t mind being corrected if what I’m saying is bullshit. How else am I gonna learn?

However I don’t know enough about much of anything to correct anyone, and I often notice that such an action is met with much apprehension and vehemence, so I wouldn’t bother.
People would ask me for links and proof, yet counter everything I say with no proof of their own to offer. I don’t wanna deal with people’s egos, and maybe I’m just crazy but a lot of this seems ego fuelled, so the pursuit of information, knowledge and wisdom is often intercepted by such unfortunate things.

I’m certainly not excluding myself from that though, if that’s what anyone thinks. Sadly I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. Or maybe it’s just self projection. I dunno.
Whether it’s threat or menace, you decide that if you want. None of it is my intent, nor do I think it is that of anyone’s, really. I guess it just happens?

I don’t mean the entirety of Fluther is this way though. I’ve had plenty of awesome conversations with people here who taught me a lot-which is saying a goddamn lot on the Internet haha.

CodePinko's avatar

Experts indeed:

Ex: one who was something but is no longer.

Spurt: a drip under pressure.

dpworkin's avatar

Just wanted to thank everyone for participating. I think my anger is irrational, and I need to work on it. But sometimes when I answer a question with what I know to be the current most highly accepted explanation with the most scientific support, and it just gets ignored while nonsense garners attention I just want to explode. No one else gets pissed off? I must really be an anomaly here.

dpworkin's avatar

(@gailcalled, I love that you said “querent”)

Berserker's avatar

@dpworkin I get pissed off too, but I just don’t react to it. Not talking about myself having a what I believe to be a good post ignored; it could be anyone. More often than not, I’ll see a good, informed answer, yet the seven people below who wrote smartass comments or who are conversing with one another like as if it was MSN all get Herman awards while the guy who knows is shit is ignored. Lame.

escapedone7's avatar

@dpworkin I think some questions have higher stakes. Our silly debate over weather to use “is” or “are” after a clause containing “what” is an example of a fairly low stakes debate. It was kind of fun, and with all the different answers it was clear some of us were wrong.

Some questions have very high stakes. Asking medical advice for an infant and getting dangerous misinformation could have serious implications indeed. So I guess it depends on the level of harm.

I am curious what question provoked this. The one about narcissism? I will have to search your history. I’m curious what has you upset.

CodePinko's avatar

Did someone say narcissism?

I’ll take two please.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@dpworkin
No one else gets pissed off?

Just another day on Fluther. I try to take it in stride… and I do get pissed off, but that doesn’t resolve much, as you already know.

dpworkin's avatar

@escapedone7 Oh, the proximate cause of this question was someone’s Lamarckian statement that baby chicks could inherit their mother’s memories.

escapedone7's avatar

@dpworkin I figured it out after reading your answers on your profile. By the way, this answer had me laughing until I almost pissed myself.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@dpworkin
I thought it might be that one, as the most recent example.

But that’s a single example of a type of faulty ‘reasoning’ and jumping to erroneous conclusions that we say here day in and day out.

“People in the USA don’t starve because we have Social Security” is another one. I go on about those routinely.

dpworkin's avatar

@escapedone7 Actually I thought that was pretty funny, too, but you had to have followed the issue to get it.

bobloblaw's avatar

@dpworkin… how can anyone believe memories are directly inheritable through genes? Th-that’s something you can verify by trying, and failing, to remember your parents’ memories. On the other hand… why am I surprised?

Coloma's avatar

Well..IMO, while not condoning mis-information of course, but..anyone who’s ego is attached to what another random stranger says in an internet forum…maybe needs some intervention and some new hobbies or interests! lol

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, thanks @Coloma. So glad you are here to help.

MacBean's avatar

By the way, @dpworkin, I love how you worded this question. It cracked me up. You’re like “Misinformation on Fluther: Bad or HORRIBLE!?” We don’t even get any kind of “generally harmless” option.

It pisses me off, too, when I see blatantly incorrect information being given out. But someone almost always comes along with links to sources that prove it wrong, so I don’t think it’s actually all that harmful on Fluther. Scientifically supported info tends to win. In the “real world” where the person might only ask one or two others, misinformation can be a major problem, though.

dpworkin's avatar

I stole the “threat or menace” joke from The Onion. I’ve actually used it in another question on Fluther. It just strikes me as funny.

augustlan's avatar

Misinformation should be corrected, no doubt about it. But, and here I’ll fall back on my old stand-by… remember to disagree without being disagreeable. “You are incorrect, and here is why…” is beautiful. “You are an ignorant idiot, and here is why…”, not-so-much.

dpworkin's avatar

I do try, Auggie, although it may not always seem that way.

augustlan's avatar

I know you do, and I appreciate it.

Maybe, if a comment inspires anger, we should walk away for a few minutes before responding. The virtual world version of counting to 10?

janbb's avatar

or checking it out with a friend as one sometimes does.

janbb's avatar

Sometimes it has frustrated me when I’ve given the “right” answer and it hasn’t been recognized or recognized enough while other crap is. But maybe sometimes the more scholarly or intellectual or even “righter” answer isn’t the best, or maybe the style is not empathetic enough. I will try to correct gross misinformation if I see it being given out, particularly if it is dangerous, but I don’t get my knickers in a twist over it or the fact that my “definitive” (to me) answer was ignored.

gailcalled's avatar

Speaking of twisted knickers, what about having given a brilliant, accurate, and clear answer with links, no less, and have someone paraphrase the answer further down…less clear, sloppy or sometimes verbatim.

janbb's avatar

Ah, say it ain’t so, @gailcalled ! Nevah happens.

I sometimes think Fluther is a good laboratory for learning to develop a thicker skin. I even apologize here at times, which I never do in real life.

dpworkin's avatar

@janbb, surely you mean “friend”

janbb's avatar

as in “internet people”

Then why isn’t it “internet anger” too?

dpworkin's avatar

It is.
I never raise my voice in RL.

janbb's avatar

I forgot, bar mitzvah boys in Scarsdale don’t yell.

But we must be derailing OP’s question – oh, wait!

dpworkin's avatar

what are you, @janbb, a comedian?

janbb's avatar

(wriggles eybrows) But I thought you knew that already, Mrs. Claypool?

dpworkin's avatar

I’m a lot closer to being Groucho than you’ll ever be

janbb's avatar

Then I get to be Margaret Dumont! I have to work on my bosom.

dpworkin's avatar

I’m not gonna touch that straight line.

janbb's avatar

I consider that a “win” for me then.

Jeruba's avatar

You two should have your own show.

dpworkin's avatar

Look at the idiocy that’s going on in here and ask me why I think there is misinformation on Fluther.

Coloma's avatar

Someone has to be Bill O’ Reilly.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba I’ve told pd we should find a way to make money off of our narishkeit.

Or did you mean so you could turn it off? :-)

shilolo's avatar

To answer the original question, I agree with what some others here have said. Minor misinformation is tolerable, life-threatening misinformation exceedingly intolerable. I can think of quite a few instances in the recent past where there was either misguided misinformation, or downright lying, that I thought was dangerous. For instance, one thread on constipation led many to advise laxatives, when the end result was a case of appendicitis. Another was someone confidently advising NOT to receive the H1N1 vaccine because the WHO had said so (which was blatantly false). I could go on, but I agree that it used to get me agitated. Now, I avoid the shpilkes by avoiding those questions altogether.

gailcalled's avatar

Or as my grandmother used to say, don’t get tlatkes in your gatkes. (Today it would have been “Good yontif to the Pontif.”

dpworkin's avatar

@shilolo It never steams your cookies to encounter something just plain wrong, after you have carefully posted the correct answer, when there are no issues of danger to health involved?

mangeons's avatar

@shilolo I remember that thread! You were a lifesaver, literally. ( :

Grisaille's avatar

I don’t know.

But I do enjoy being the guy that comes in and just says, “you are an idiot” and leaves, these days.

I used to have discussions, and still do occasionally. Can’t, anymore.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think getting overly attached to a right/wrong polarity matters a whit.
Unless, as mentioned it is potentially harmful info.

I’ll just say my thing, take it or leave it, but not interested in arguing or getting emotionally invested in some petty online disagreement.

People that understand what your saying will let you know, the rest can piss off. lol

You know there is no law that we have to get along with everybody! I mean…look at the odds in ‘real’ life. If you met 45 different people all at once the odds are that you probably wouldn’t jive with 37 of them! hahahaha

Who cares, be nice, have fun, let it be.

Strauss's avatar

We’re all Experts. Everyone is an expert at something. Fluther learns what you know, and finds questions just for you
Fluther Homepage

MacBean's avatar

Wow. Glad someone pointed that out.

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