Author Topic: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?  (Read 4907 times)

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O'Dell

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2012, 01:25:56 PM »


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.

See I would tell the person "I got the info from xyz source." and leave it at that. If they want the info, they can find it themselves...unless it's a specialized source which they wouldn't have access to.

Note though that I said in my post that people I know cite their sources on FB in the original link. A friend of mine posted today a comment about a speech made at the DNC last night. He watched it live so there was no citation of any sort. I'm not going to ask him to link to it. It would be easier and faster, and IMO my responsibility, to look up a video of the speech myself.

Same if I were to mention an article in my local newspaper. I'm not going to hunt down a copy of the paper to give to a person who asks. I might give them a starting point of the paper, but then they are on their own. And actually I often say where I got things right off the bat. If they want further info, day or section, I might guess, but I won't be the one to look it up.

Also notice that I said it was rude to ask. I just think it's lazy. I'd be inclined to respond with http://lmgtfy.com/
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artk2002

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2012, 01:46:41 PM »
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.

See I would tell the person "I got the info from xyz source." and leave it at that. If they want the info, they can find it themselves...unless it's a specialized source which they wouldn't have access to.

Note though that I said in my post that people I know cite their sources on FB in the original link. A friend of mine posted today a comment about a speech made at the DNC last night. He watched it live so there was no citation of any sort. I'm not going to ask him to link to it. It would be easier and faster, and IMO my responsibility, to look up a video of the speech myself.

Same if I were to mention an article in my local newspaper. I'm not going to hunt down a copy of the paper to give to a person who asks. I might give them a starting point of the paper, but then they are on their own. And actually I often say where I got things right off the bat. If they want further info, day or section, I might guess, but I won't be the one to look it up.

Also notice that I said it was rude to ask. I just think it's lazy. I'd be inclined to respond with http://lmgtfy.com/

Most of the things you've described (like the speech) don't require much in the way of citation.  There are, however, people who will make factual claims ("vaccinating gay whales makes them exude chemtrails to lead the UN's black helicopters to our major cities where they're going to confiscate our tinfoil hats") without any evidence to back them up. The usual response is "[Citation needed]". They then come back with "I'm not going to do your research for you" which really means "I don't have a shred of evidence and I'm going to BS my way through this hoping you won't check up on me."

I certainly don't think it's lazy to ask someone to provide evidence for a claim that they've made. If they're not prepared to support it somehow, they shouldn't be making the statement in the first place. I think it's lazy (or often dishonest) to refuse, especially if the claim is out of the ordinary.

Example (sort-of):

Claimant: "There are dozens of studies showing that eyebrow weaving causes cancer of the toenail"
Skeptic: "Great, can you cite a few of those so that I can learn about this?"
Claimant: "Look them up yourself. I'm not going to do your work for you!!!!"
Skeptic: "You made the claim, you need to prove it"
Claimant: "Look, a butterfly..."
... sometimes it continues
Skeptic: "Ok. I've done several searches and haven't found a single study that shows anything like that."
Claimant: "That's because the eyebrow industry is having them suppressed. You're just a shill for the eyebrow industry!!!!!!!!!"

I can point you at places where discussions like that are a daily occurrence.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

MummySweet

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2012, 01:51:34 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!

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Twik

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2012, 02:37:52 PM »
Actually, I think it's a good idea when dealing with anything political or scientific that we plan on reposting to check the sources, if for no other reason than it keeps us honest with the things we use to bolster our own opinions. I recall a quote from someone (who I'm not going to Google right now!) about how false opinions were harmless, because we can argue against them, but false facts (from whence we launch our arguments) are dangerous, because we don't question them. And it's temptingly easy not to question seeming "facts" that align with our own views.
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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2012, 02:48:17 PM »


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.

See I would tell the person "I got the info from xyz source." and leave it at that. If they want the info, they can find it themselves...unless it's a specialized source which they wouldn't have access to.

Note though that I said in my post that people I know cite their sources on FB in the original link. A friend of mine posted today a comment about a speech made at the DNC last night. He watched it live so there was no citation of any sort. I'm not going to ask him to link to it. It would be easier and faster, and IMO my responsibility, to look up a video of the speech myself.

Same if I were to mention an article in my local newspaper. I'm not going to hunt down a copy of the paper to give to a person who asks. I might give them a starting point of the paper, but then they are on their own. And actually I often say where I got things right off the bat. If they want further info, day or section, I might guess, but I won't be the one to look it up.

Also notice that I said it was rude to ask. I just think it's lazy. I'd be inclined to respond with http://lmgtfy.com/

But I think in your examples you were stating your source when you referred to it or was asked.  In the example of the convention, I'm assuming the poster said something along the lines of "last night so and so said such in his speech" or "such was said last night at the DNC".  If you mention an article that you read and someone asked where you read it, I'm assuming you'd at least say I read it in local paper. 

In the case I mentioned I said I had read an article about subject and SIL asked where I had read it.  Since I couldn't remember the publication it required I find the article again and once found it is easier to send a link instead of writing out the name of the publication, name of article, and possible date or author. 

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2012, 04:04:04 PM »
It's also a "know your audience" kind of thing.  Depending on who I was talking to, I might feel totally comfortable with a simple repsonse of [citation needed]
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Mr Hero

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2012, 06:27:54 AM »
I'm surprised no one mentioned "burden of proof".  Whoever makes the claim must be prepared to cite the source.  We don't have to be rude about requesting the source, but it's not a form of laziness.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2012, 11:44:56 AM »
A friend and I do regular "friendly" battle over this type of thing all the time.  If she gets an email rumor she believes it to be the gospel...then she forwards it to me and I try to find confirmation or at least the source of the erumor.  Then I email her the truth (rarely is it a confirmation).

I think it depends on whether you are offended and trying to pick a fight or really want a source to confirm.  As a pp says, "know your audience". 

If my friend sends me a political erumor about XYZ getting free state aid she knows I am going to question that and look it up - she doesn't bother confirming a source, she knows I will and then she is good to forward the info, for whatever good that does.   If the email is meant to inflame me that's one thing, if it is meant for information purposes that's another.  If it is just inaccurate gossip - that's a whole nother deal!

If she sends one about castor oil as a mouth rinse, I am probably not even going to bother with that one.  Even if I know better.   


Allyson

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Re: Is it rude to ask someone to cite their source?
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2012, 02:04:06 AM »
I think Facebook in particular is a hotbed of unsourced rumours that are often false. All the celebrity death rumours, for instance. Asking someone 'oh, where did you read that?' is a way to combat this. And I think it's important to do that. I have seen some absolute ragers of debates happen over something that isn't even true. Yes, you can point at them and say 'well they should've done their research' but plenty of times, people just react. And the more actual sources and proper information is expected, the better it will be.

I do think a less aggressive way is best. Just saying nothing other than 'Cite your source' comes off as a demand and is not very polite.