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Charlie in Dayton
2002-Nov-11, 03:35 AM
The Rant
(due to similarities in inspiration, this item has also been posted on the JREF Forum BB, 'Banter' section
http://66.192.47.137/vbulletin/ )

In recent tours of both the Bad Astronomy and JREF BB's, I have been struck with a number of posts on classic woowooness...Planet X, crop circles, what have you...where the poster tries to absolve themself of all responsibility by exclaiming "Hey, I'm not claiming anything, just reporting what others have said!"

Bovine fecal material. Meadow muffins. Cow pies. Back 40 boot wax. The source materials for the perfume known as 'Eau de Barnyard'. Absolute total 100% generic grain-fed BULLSQUEEZIN'S!!!

Those individuals who are RESPONSIBLY reporting on something that deserves further examination (and as far out as these claims get, they do fall into this category, if for no other reason than to not rule them out, out of hand) will come out with the claim, state some supporting evidence/links/documentation, and then either use this to support a point or just ask for comments. They will NOT (as I have seen done countless times, and if you think for a moment you'll remember some) make wild claims, then trot the 'proofs' out later to support the claim, and then explain away the original posting as 'I'm just reporting here' etc etc etc...

The 'just reporting' excuse carries no weight with me. As a matter of fact, it generates excess quantities of bile when I see it used. As a former correspondent for an amateur-radio related news organization, I can say that if I'd presented a story in the same manner as some posters do here, my career would have been more along the timelines of five seconds as opposed to five years.

If all you are doing is reporting, then the 'reporter' has the obligation to take no stance on the issue in the report, in the interest of impartiality. If you are using the material as support for a claim, that is RESEARCHING, not reporting.

There is no excuse to using 'just reporting' for these actions. If you do not have the courage of your conviction to stand behind the information you posted, if you have to hide behind the excuse that 'they're not my words', THEN WHY ARE YOU REPEATING THEM?

Thank you for this opportunity to again temporarily stave off an ulcer.

Jigsaw
2002-Nov-11, 03:53 PM
Time to switch to decaf, Charlie. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

You are overlooking one big thing--maybe he IS just saying, "Hey, I'm just reporting what others have said." What's wrong with that? Why should he be required to "support his position"? There's no "position" taken in posting a link and in saying, "I'm not taking a stand either way." I don't think you're correct in assuming that he's posting it because he believes it's true, and I don't think you're right to require that he "stand behind the information he's posted."

I myself have posted links in a discussion to things like Sitchin, in order to help move the discussion along, but I felt no obligation to also post some sort of disclaimer, like, "BTW, I don't really believe this", mainly because the default assumption here at the BABB (and at JREF) is that things like Sitchin and crop circles aren't true, so you shouldn't have to post disclaimers every time.

The "hey, I'm just reporting this" links to Twinkie stuff are posted in the spirit of either, "Hey, I think this is relevant to the discussion", or "Hey, I'm curious as to what people think of this," or else, "Hee hee, isn't this silly stuff just hilarious?" Either way, the post shouldn't require either a disclaimer or a defense.

Here at the BABB we don't all have scientifically organized, logical minds. There are a number of people here who are here because they're curious, or they're wondering about Twinkie stuff, or they really do believe in Planet X and the moon landing hoax, and they shouldn't be required to post only if they can post in a scientifically organized, logical manner, supporting their posts with carefully reasoned arguments. Not everyone can do that, and those of us who can do that are charitable enough to cut them a lot of slack.

And IMO that's what makes this place so fascinating. On the one hand we have the calm voice of reason, like JayUtah and the BA, and OTOH we have, well...others. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif Others who nevertheless have the freedom here at the BABB to post a link to Planet X websites without having to "support" their "viewpoint". It's possible they don't have a viewpoint. Not everyone has looked carefully at the question of things like Planet X and has come to a conclusion about its truth or falsehood. A surprisingly large number of people out there, and here on the BABB, only know what they read on Internet websites.

If we started requiring all posters here to post in a scientifically organized, logical, manner, supporting their posts with carefully reasoned arguments, then all those interesting "others" would be hounded off the BABB, and we'd be left with nothing but an astronomy tech forum.

Which would be boring, boring, boring.


I prefer Taster's Choice myself... /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Nov-11, 05:17 PM
On 2002-11-11 10:53, Jigsaw wrote:
Here at the BABB we don't all have scientifically organized, logical minds. There are a number of people here who are here because they're curious, or they're wondering about Twinkie stuff, or they really do believe in Planet X and the moon landing hoax, and they shouldn't be required to post only if they can post in a scientifically organized, logical manner, supporting their posts with carefully reasoned arguments. Not everyone can do that, and those of us who can do that are charitable enough to cut them a lot of slack.
Plus, we don't have a lot of that other sort of behavior. The BABB FAQ Ground Rule (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/faq-english.php#rules) number 7 says "I am not a fan of the post-and-run technique of posting a single provocative statement (or, commonly, a URL to a pseudoscience website) and then never posting again in a thread. This is only a step above trolling. Barely. Do this more than once and you'll be warned. Do it again, and poof: you'll be banned."

OTOH, reporting instances of Bad Astronomy is exactly what the forum Bad TV! Bad Movies! No Doughnut! (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?forum=4&3749) is for.

Irishman
2002-Nov-13, 05:23 AM
There's a difference between saying, "Hey, I heard this and was wondering about it," and "NASA Apollo Moon Landing's Are a Hoax!, What, I'm just reporting, I make no claims."

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Nov-13, 05:33 AM
On 2002-11-13 00:23, Irishman wrote:
There's a difference between saying, "Hey, I heard this and was wondering about it," and "NASA Apollo Moon Landing's Are a Hoax!, What, I'm just reporting, I make no claims."

You know...


On 2002-11-10 22:35, Charlie in Dayton wrote:
There is no excuse to using 'just reporting' for these actions. If you do not have the courage of your conviction to stand behind the information you posted, if you have to hide behind the excuse that 'they're not my words', THEN WHY ARE YOU REPEATING THEM?
OK, which threads are you talking about? No need to shout.

Charlie in Dayton
2002-Nov-13, 07:22 AM
In part, what triggered this was one of SatV's responses when someone called him on posting woowooness. The response was along the lines of 'I'm just reporting', but he was the thread founder.

I don't shoot messengers, but I have been known to practice benchrest with major calibers on 'authors'.

Conqueror Worm
2002-Nov-13, 07:47 AM
This is my own personal opinion and is in no way meant to represent the opinion of anyone else on the board.

Having said that, characterizing anything you have to say as "The Rant" is just too self aggrandizing to be believed. Characterizing it as "The Rant" which is singular in it's The-ness, and yet spread over years of ranting in which each of your rants has proven itself to be "The Rant", no doubt because of it's incredible relevance to whatever world in which this "Rant" was graciously afforded to those who are still unaware of the early nineties stand-up format of "The Rant", is just too ridiculous to swallow without a generous helping of whiskey.
In the future, if you wish to appear "hip" and "cool" I suggest you present your "radical"" extreme" opinion in a format not so easily attributed to a mediocre radio talent given to hackneyed appeals to the emotionalism of junior high-schoolers.
Other than that I think your opinions are super-edgy, and would be better served if illustrated by some mtv video director in a super-hip very-now jerky montage of guys in leather jackets on gritty new york streets RANTING about how cool the world would be if we could all just get hip to your RANT!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Conqueror Worm on 2002-11-13 02:49 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Conqueror Worm on 2002-11-13 02:52 ]</font>

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Nov-13, 08:00 AM
On 2002-11-13 02:22, Charlie in Dayton wrote:
I don't shoot messengers, but I have been known to practice benchrest with major calibers on 'authors'.
You could find the Moose on you.