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Author Topic: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?  (Read 14752 times)

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snappylt

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When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« on: September 23, 2015, 03:48:49 PM »
I think this was probably addressed by others on this website long ago, but I cannot remember what was said at the time, so I'm asking today:

I'm interested in hearing what others do and what others think regarding ridiculous e-mails forwarded by beloved relatives.  In this case I think I am just going to ignore the e-mail. But I am wondering: when do others respond with corrections and when do others just ignore - especially when the guilty party is well-loved?

I have a well-loved cousin (let's call her "Joan") who is about 70 years old. She has been a wonderfully caring, supportive person over the years and she was especially kind to my own mother when my mother was declining due to Alzheimer's.  (In other words, I do not want to needlessly anger or offend Joan.)

Joan likes to forward e-mails. Most are harmless jokes or links to cute animal videos. (Some of those I am actually glad to receive, because it gives me an excuse to keep in touch and to reply and agree on how cute those puppies or kittens were.)

Sometimes Joan's e-mails are not harmless. Once, about 10 years ago, she forwarded a horrible rant about a particular human rights issue I feel very strongly about, slandering a whole group of human beings. I did not let that slide; I replied telling her about my own positive experiences with members of that group and disagreeing with the post she had forwarded. It turned out that Joan had never interacted with any members of that group of human beings herself and was just blindly believing falsehoods she was hearing others say.

Another time, Joan forwarded an image of a poster with obviously doctored pictures claiming that members of our own profession were committing a particular human rights violation against children. (Joan and I are both retired from a particular profession.) In her subject line Joan asked my opinion.  The poster was clearly false, and I told her so. In fact, I asked her to document for me one single case of members of our profession ever committing that particular human rights violation in our country. She wrote back agreeing with me that she couldn't document that it ever happened, and actually explained her own thinking on the matter.

Last week Joan forwarded another ridiculous e-mail. It purports to be a safety warning from a particular US state's Highway Patrol. I got suspicious when the warning said to call an emergency phone number that is not a US phone number, so I checked it out. Snopes.com says it is false.

I think I am going to just ignore it because she hasn't slandered our profession or another whole group of human beings this time. I think that I am fine in ignoring it, so I am not asking for advice about my own situation. But I am curious to know how others here handle ridiculous forwarded e-mails when the sender is a beloved relative. (I know most of us probably just ignore such e-mails when the sender is someone we don't care about. But what about when it's a beloved relative?)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 03:53:20 PM by snappylt »

Yvaine

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 03:53:02 PM »
One thing I tried once when someone posted a scare-story and I didn't want to offend the poster: "Good news! Turns out this isn't true." I don't remember my exact wording, but I leaned hard on the "You don't have to worry about this anymore!" rather than the "You're wrong" angle.

lakey

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 04:02:29 PM »
I ignore them. If it involved something that I viewed as harmful or really offensive to an entire group of people, I would either send the person to snopes, or explain my views in as positive a manner as possible. As far as political stuff, I ignore. I have strong views myself, and I understand that people on the other side have strong views. I see no point in getting into arguments.

I do have an acquaintance who used to send around those chain letters, and now sends around similar emails. I ignore them. I once received a chain letter that said that a person who broke the chain was in a car accident where they were beheaded. Mean Lakey enjoyed tossing those in the trash. People, who thought they were going to get rich sending $2 to twenty people, didn't because mean, old me ruined it for everyone by breaking the chain.

AvidReader

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 04:07:28 PM »
It seems like ages ago when DFIL finally got an email account.  The novelty of it just.would.not.wear.off.  He would forward to DH all the joke-y and the not-our-politics type emails that were forwarded to him.   DH sat down with him and said that because he was receiving so.much.email in general, he just didn't have time for forwarded email from anyone and automatically deleted it without reading (not necessarily true) and to please stop sending such email because he would not want to miss an email that was personal.or.really.important.  That did the trick.  Maybe such a tack will work with Joan.

JenJay

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2015, 04:13:52 PM »
One thing I tried once when someone posted a scare-story and I didn't want to offend the poster: "Good news! Turns out this isn't true." I don't remember my exact wording, but I leaned hard on the "You don't have to worry about this anymore!" rather than the "You're wrong" angle.

That's what I do. Unless it's a religious/political rant from one of my "You either agree with me or you're wrong" relatives. Ironically, if you try to link them to anything that refuses their shared Rant of the Day, they'll respond with "You can't believe everything you read on the internet!"  ::)

Harriet Jones

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2015, 04:15:09 PM »
It depends.  If there's no harm in letting it lie, I probably wouldn't say anything.

Otherwise, if they're easily offended, I might say something fairly gentle like in Yvaine's post.

If I can, I'll direct them to snopes or similar.   One forward I recently received was a fake news story about snopes  ::)


SplishFish

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2015, 04:17:03 PM »
I suppose part of my decision-making would depend on how the relative reacted to being corrected/challenged. What did Joan do in the other instances where you responded? Did she stop sending stuff about the group of people? Did she stick to her guns and counter-argue? Did nothing happen?

If she's prone to arguing or nothing happens, I would let it go and ignore. Nothing you do is likely to change her behavior. (I think there was a thread similar to this in the Techno-etiquette folder; the general consensus was not to try to educate/challenge because they won't listen anyway.) However, if she responded favorably (i.e., acknowledges she was wrong, apologizes, or at least stops sending certain things), then it may be worth it to do a gentle correction or give a general education on not believing everything you read.

One thing I tried once when someone posted a scare-story and I didn't want to offend the poster: "Good news! Turns out this isn't true." I don't remember my exact wording, but I leaned hard on the "You don't have to worry about this anymore!" rather than the "You're wrong" angle.
I like this approach. Gets the point across without being argumentative.


ETA: This is the thread I was thinking of. http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=138487.0
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 04:20:42 PM by SplishFish »

Arila

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2015, 04:17:52 PM »
I respond to very close people. I try to do it in a loving way, and offer neutral sources (and cite them) so it's not just a clash of our opinions.

I'm not sure if it does any good. There was a study done which says that in the face of factual evidence contrary to their opinion, people go the opposite direction, becoming even more entrenched. So, I do weigh a little bit the value proposition - do I have enough pull or influence with this person that the effort is worth it. There has been one occasion when the person followed up to their distribution with the snopes link. So! 

PastryGoddess

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2015, 04:25:47 PM »
It seems like ages ago when DFIL finally got an email account.  The novelty of it just.would.not.wear.off.  He would forward to DH all the joke-y and the not-our-politics type emails that were forwarded to him.   DH sat down with him and said that because he was receiving so.much.email in general, he just didn't have time for forwarded email from anyone and automatically deleted it without reading (not necessarily true) and to please stop sending such email because he would not want to miss an email that was personal.or.really.important.  That did the trick.  Maybe such a tack will work with Joan.

I had to do this to my mother when I moved away for college.  She forwarded every single fake email that came through her inbox.  After a phone call where she complained that I hadn't responded to an important email, I told her that most of her emails went into the trash because they were spam.  If she wanted me to respond in a timely manner then she needed to stop sending the spam.  And she did. 

OP I think picking up the phone and calling Joan would get your point across much better. 

greencat

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2015, 04:38:26 PM »
I had to set all my dad's emails to get marked read and skip the inbox because he forwards so much crap to me.  I got yelled at when I responded to one with the Snopes link and "Hey, everything in this email is wrong" so I just removed it from my inbox entirely.  Dad's Facebook feed has been long hidden - a typical day of Dad Facebooking results in almost 20 posts - an even mix of bad jokes, recipes, and political memes, so basically the same things he would forward me in email before.


With other people, I will absolutely post the Snopes link and ask them to use critical thinking skills before posting.  If they remove me from their friends list over it, I consider that an excellent result. 

mandycorn

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2015, 05:02:49 PM »
I use the "good news, we don't have to worry anymore" tactic a lot with my acquaintances on facebook when they've reposted something that seems to be causing them distress.

When it's my dad sending me and my sisters "safety" nonsense, I reply all to my whole family with the snopes link with no comment because really, he's a smart, skeptical, internet savvy person who should know how to check these things himself. I know with him it comes from a place of even if it's not true, it's good to be careful, but that makes me crazy, so I'm not overly worried about sugar-coating it.
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Hillia

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2015, 05:50:10 PM »
The only time I bother responding is when the advice in the email could be dangerous - 'Do this to treat a heart attack yourself!'  'Dump flour on 3rd degree burns!' etc.  Otherwise, they won't listen, and it just provides more evidence that I'm a smart aleck city girl who thinks she's better than everyone.

MrTango

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2015, 07:39:11 PM »
The only time I bother responding is when the advice in the email could be dangerous - 'Do this to treat a heart attack yourself!'  'Dump flour on 3rd degree burns!' etc.  Otherwise, they won't listen, and it just provides more evidence that I'm a smart aleck city girl who thinks she's better than everyone.

I generally follow this one when it comes to emails and when peoples' posts appear in my newsfeed.

The exception for me, however, is if someone actually posts something directly onto my wall.  In those cases, I will find evidence and refute the person who posted it, chastising them for posting easily falsifiable claims onto my wall.

MommyPenguin

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2015, 08:04:45 PM »
The only time I bother responding is when the advice in the email could be dangerous - 'Do this to treat a heart attack yourself!'  'Dump flour on 3rd degree burns!' etc.  Otherwise, they won't listen, and it just provides more evidence that I'm a smart aleck city girl who thinks she's better than everyone.

I generally follow this one when it comes to emails and when peoples' posts appear in my newsfeed.

The exception for me, however, is if someone actually posts something directly onto my wall.  In those cases, I will find evidence and refute the person who posted it, chastising them for posting easily falsifiable claims onto my wall.

I'm pretty much in agreement.  Refute if it contains bad advice or smears a group wrongly, ignore if it's glurge, refute or delete if it's on my personal wall.
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Tea Drinker

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Re: When do you reference Snopes and when do you just ignore?
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2015, 08:37:12 PM »
The other time I would reference Snopes is if the person sending around the falsehoods was a shape of authority that meant they might be taken more seriously. I once did a "reply all" with Snopes link on a computer security issue, in reply to a message from a computer science professor. Similarly, I would be more likely to point out that a health-related claim was false if it came from a nurse, or even a retired medical receptionist, than from a bookkeeper or supermarket manager.
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