Author Topic: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?  (Read 4899 times)

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MsOverThinker

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Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« on: September 04, 2012, 03:44:51 PM »
So it's political season again on social media.  I'm sure we're all enjoying the great etiquette involved in that arena.  With that in mind, I was wondering if there's a good way to ask someone to cite a source.  Earlier today, I was reading a post where someone put out a fact that I would like to repeat.  But I don't want to just repeat what some guy said on the internet (he's a friend-of-a-friend on facebook, whose post is on my friend's wall).  So I want to comment and ask, "Hey, where did you read that?  I'd like to read the article/listen to the radio story/see the newscast that talks about that."  Do you think it would come off as my questioning/contradicting his statement? 

Judah

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 03:54:13 PM »
I don't see anything wrong with asking someone to cite a source, but if you don't want to you can probably Google it and find your own.
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Cleargleam

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2012, 04:02:09 PM »
I see nothing wrong with asking someone to cite their sources.   

Sometimes their source is "some guy with a confidently voiced opinion". Sometimes their source, unfortunately, is The Onion or a similar publication.

Asking someone to cite a source also ensures that if you allude to a source, you allude to something that actually has the same tone.

The above can be a greater/lesser issue depending on the opportunity you have to properly vet anything you find via Google. 

(Edited to correct html fail)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 04:06:31 PM by Cleargleam »

WillyNilly

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2012, 04:04:43 PM »
I don't think its rude at all (heck people do it on these boards all the time).  Its especially easy I think when its something your agree with "oh wow, I'd like to know more about that - can you point me to your source?"  But even if you disagree its not rude to say "I have read conflicting/opposing statements on that, can you cite your source so I can learn more?"

Basically so long as you aren't rude in how you ask, its not rude to ask, I think.  I mean they are putting the info out there publicly to begin with, surely they expect people to take some interest!

O'Dell

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2012, 04:32:31 PM »
There's nothing rude about asking, but I think you should try to track down the source on your own first. You want to know that info, and unless the other person has that info already at hand, you are asking them to do your searching for you.
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Cleargleam

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2012, 04:48:23 PM »
There's nothing rude about asking, but I think you should try to track down the source on your own first. You want to know that info, and unless the other person has that info already at hand, you are asking them to do your searching for you.

I disagree.  But then, I think it's rude to post information/opinion *without* citing the source - and a discourtesy to the originator of the piece.

Also, as noted previously, I might look up a piece on Google (my video aversion notwithstanding) but find a piece which covered the point from the opposite angle to that which the intermediate poster intended/referenced.



MsOverThinker

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2012, 04:52:12 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for your help.  Unfortunately it was worded in such a way I wasn't sure google would have been much help "blah blah blah corporations spent billions on {generic item}".  But fortunately, before I could ask, he posted it under his comment.

But I will remember your opinions for future reference.

lady_disdain

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 04:56:27 PM »
Like most things, it isn't inherently rude to ask for sources, but it can be done rudely.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 05:45:51 PM »
I do this with friends  and friends of friends all the time.  I'll ask where they got it and then share it on my page from the original source with a thank you to "whomever" for pointing it out.

I very rarely share second (third, fourth, etc) hand sources as it updates everyone's feed when someone posts and that can get cluttered, AND can open you up to people you don't necessarily want to know you are on facebook

snowdragon

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 11:16:29 PM »
If you are making it clear you are asking for information rather than to start a confrontation you're ok. But if you (general) are doing it cause a fight then, it's rude.
People are allowed to have their feeling and opinions about XYZ with out having back up...saying "XYZ is true"...some folks may need to have that proven.

O'Dell

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 10:17:20 AM »
There's nothing rude about asking, but I think you should try to track down the source on your own first. You want to know that info, and unless the other person has that info already at hand, you are asking them to do your searching for you.

I disagree.  But then, I think it's rude to post information/opinion *without* citing the source - and a discourtesy to the originator of the piece.

Also, as noted previously, I might look up a piece on Google (my video aversion notwithstanding) but find a piece which covered the point from the opposite angle to that which the intermediate poster intended/referenced.

FB isn't an academic paper. I don't understand why anyone would feel a need to cite sources in such an informal forum, especially when it is personal opinion. If there is a source to cite, then typically people I know link to it.

You are assuming that there is always something to refer back to. That's not always the case nor should it have to be.
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Twik

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2012, 11:22:33 AM »
FB isn't an academic paper. I don't understand why anyone would feel a need to cite sources in such an informal forum, especially when it is personal opinion. If there is a source to cite, then typically people I know link to it.

You are assuming that there is always something to refer back to. That's not always the case nor should it have to be.

Depend's what you're saying.

If it's "I love ponies and rainbows!", yes, there will not be a source.

However, if it's "Politician X is a known babyeater, and I will not vote for him/her," then if I'm going to quote that, I would like to know where the "known babyeater" bit comes from. Otherwise, I would be no better than the people who send on e-mail forwards accusing politicians on the other side with being all sorts of foul things, only to find out that there is actually nothing behind those accusations.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2012, 12:09:08 PM »
There's nothing rude about asking, but I think you should try to track down the source on your own first. You want to know that info, and unless the other person has that info already at hand, you are asking them to do your searching for you.

I disagree.  But then, I think it's rude to post information/opinion *without* citing the source - and a discourtesy to the originator of the piece.

Also, as noted previously, I might look up a piece on Google (my video aversion notwithstanding) but find a piece which covered the point from the opposite angle to that which the intermediate poster intended/referenced.

FB isn't an academic paper. I don't understand why anyone would feel a need to cite sources in such an informal forum, especially when it is personal opinion. If there is a source to cite, then typically people I know link to it.

You are assuming that there is always something to refer back to. That's not always the case nor should it have to be.

I agree that FB isn't an academic paper. But I don't think I'm "asking someone to do my work for me" if I ask them where they got the info I'm interested in.

It'll be FASTER--even if they say, "it was a Washington Post story from last week" and don't have any extra info.

And if they don't want to do the work of remembering, then they can SAY that.

If I want you to believe what I've said, then I shoudln't be complaining if you ask for further info about it. If it's a hardship to provide that info, then I should speak up.

I wouldn't be doing *your* homework for you; I'd be doing *my own* work of providing the source of my info and protecting my own credibility.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2012, 12:27:38 PM »
There's nothing rude about asking, but I think you should try to track down the source on your own first. You want to know that info, and unless the other person has that info already at hand, you are asking them to do your searching for you.

I disagree.  But then, I think it's rude to post information/opinion *without* citing the source - and a discourtesy to the originator of the piece.

Also, as noted previously, I might look up a piece on Google (my video aversion notwithstanding) but find a piece which covered the point from the opposite angle to that which the intermediate poster intended/referenced.

FB isn't an academic paper. I don't understand why anyone would feel a need to cite sources in such an informal forum, especially when it is personal opinion. If there is a source to cite, then typically people I know link to it.

You are assuming that there is always something to refer back to. That's not always the case nor should it have to be.

I agree that FB isn't an academic paper. But I don't think I'm "asking someone to do my work for me" if I ask them where they got the info I'm interested in.

It'll be FASTER--even if they say, "it was a Washington Post story from last week" and don't have any extra info.

And if they don't want to do the work of remembering, then they can SAY that.

If I want you to believe what I've said, then I shoudln't be complaining if you ask for further info about it. If it's a hardship to provide that info, then I should speak up.

I wouldn't be doing *your* homework for you; I'd be doing *my own* work of providing the source of my info and protecting my own credibility.

I completely agree.  Whether your statement is on FB or in a real life conversation, asking someone where they'd obtained their information they are sharing is not rude nor is it having them do your work for you.

On Monday, I made a statement about a study I had read on effects of eggs and cholesterol in diabetics.  My SIL asked me where I got the info.  I told her I'd need to find it again and the next morning I sent her a link to the paper.  I see no difference in making a request like she did from asking someone who has made a public statement on FB where they were able to obtain the info.

ilrag

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 02:43:34 PM »
Maybe it's just because I'm an engineer and spend a lot of time with engineers and scientists but "What's your source on that" is a constant question in any discussion in my life. (Drives my mother crazy, but then she's never been one for fact checking)