Author Topic: Questioning details and discrepancies  (Read 12529 times)

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Hanna

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Questioning details and discrepancies
« on: January 28, 2011, 01:47:55 PM »
What to do when a poster seems to be materially changing a story?

Shoo

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 01:55:44 PM »
I think the first thing to consider is whether or not it affects the outcome.  Does it change what the advice would be? 

Or, is it an attempt to hide one's identity on the internet?  Or is it an honest mistake?

I guess what I'm saying is, does it MATTER?

In past threads where we have uncovered deception, the stories have been so outrageous and implausible, to believe them and then spend our time trying to help resolve the issues was a huge waste of time.  The OP wasn't getting anything out of it, except for a laugh at our expense.

Where the OP has merely restated a story incorrectly, or with changes that don't really affect the outcome, I say So What? 


Ms_Shell

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 02:00:13 PM »
For my money, I think questioning a poster about discrepancies is all right.  Making a round judgment that the OP is telling a falsehood without asking  first is when it gets a little out of hand.  I guess I've internalized "presumed innocent until proven guilty". 
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Hanna

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 02:09:52 PM »
I generally ignore it.  I've seen more than one post I don't believe, but sometimes I just sit back and watch.

It doesn't really offend me because I don't get that emotionally involved in anything I read here, but I understand why it would bother someone else.  So I support every poster's right to ask clarifying questions. I also don't think a business should be named if one is going to take creative license.  And I also don't like if I see the entire board getting sucked into someone's falsified drama (absolutely not the case here)

The problem to me in the other thread is not the person asking for clarification. If that was all that happened after.  If no one else said anything, and the OP came back and said "WOW! That's such a coincidence!" it wouldn't have been an issue.

These things blow it out or proportion and make it a bigger deal:
Disparaging the poster that asked
Accusing rudeness
Dictating how others should handle the situation
Accusing the poster that noticed of stalking
Snarky indignant tones

Chartreuse

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 02:10:36 PM »
There's a world of difference between asking for some clarification, should it matter to the situation, and outright going into Inquisition-Mode.  I think that's the key.  Count me as another who generally figures it's better to assume intentions are good on the part of posters than act like a bunch of rabid wolves tearing into each other.

Kind of like the quote (I can't remember it directly) about not taking offense unless you know it's meant, and if there's question about it, assume it was an accident on the other person's part?
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Dindrane

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 02:18:55 PM »
If the changes affect the advice you personally would give, then I think it's fine to ask for clarification politely.  If the changes would not affect your advice, then I think you should either ignore the changes, or ignore the thread, depending upon how invested you are in it. :)

And, of course, ignoring the thread is always an option. ;)


C0mputerGeek

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 02:20:04 PM »
What to do when a poster seems to be materially changing a story?

That depends on why it's happening. I rarely post stories (because I am lazy) but when I do  I try to find a balance between providing enough details that are pertinent to the discussion and overloading people with "analysis paralysis." I have a hard time believing I am alone. I think many times the OP leaves out something pertinent because they simply forgot to include it the first time around or did not think, on initial reflection, that the fact was pertinent.

Also, I will change small facts in my story (e.g. names, relationships) to keep it from being recognizable should any of the principals to the discussion find this Internet site. If I reference the story again, I might not remember how I altered the details the first time, which means that there might be a change in facts.

You did say material changes, but one person's minutia can be another person's big deal.

Surianne

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 03:29:33 PM »
If the changes affect the advice you personally would give, then I think it's fine to ask for clarification politely.  If the changes would not affect your advice, then I think you should either ignore the changes, or ignore the thread, depending upon how invested you are in it. :)

I think this is great advice.

I did this recently -- I was posting in a thread from the perspective of when I was recently a student, and then I mentioned that I was currently a librarian, which (I didn't realize at the time) totally changed things.

I really appreciated the poster who stopped and politely questioned me, because I had confused the heck out of everyone without realizing it! 

CakeBeret

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 03:41:13 PM »
I'm pretty paranoid about being caught out on the internet, so I sometimes change non-pertinent details. I'm fine with being questioned if something doesn't match up.

As long as you're just asking a question, and not starting an inquisition, I don't see a problem with it. Starting an inquisition, to me, would include being rude, making accusations, taking a snarky tone, acting as though you're trying to catch the OP in a lie.
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shhh its me

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 05:31:10 PM »
   I'm OK with hypothetical threads , downright fictitious threads (although no one wants to feel laughed at or trolled) I think posters can change details to obscure identity, but I think it should be against the rule to change a detail which specifically names a person/business/entity as a "villain" . So I can say large seafood chain restaurant when I really went to medium Asian style chain restaurant but not Red Lobester if I really was at BD's Mongolian BBQ.  * this is utter fiction I have had neither bad service or dirty cook at either restaurant*

How to voice a suspicion?  Is it alright for me to reffer to the locked thread this was linked from?

I think we can bring it up right in a thread as long as it brought up politely.  IE " I noticed you mention Red lobster in your post but talked about how clean the chef's hand were while they where going around the giant round skillet thingy. is that something new they added? or is it possible your trying to obscure your identity by changing the name"   wait for reply assuming it's  " I think you should just change the name to something anonymous then"  I think you can let posters know , "I notice a coincidence or a inconsistent etc." but it should be phrased will all possible benefit of the doubt. " OP I'm confused by detail X and Y , I'm reading these two thing to mean....." or " I'm having difficulty reconciling details X and Y , they seem contradictory, could you clarify?"


Lisbeth

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 09:03:17 PM »
I'd say it depends on what you're questioning and the tone in which you ask the question.

If you say something like, "I'm not clear on whether you mean Sally was driving or the passenger," that has a completely different feel than "Excuse me, you said Sally was driving. Are you now saying you lied earlier? I don't believe this is true."

If the question has a snarky or accusing tone to it, I think it's best not asked.  But if it's just to clarify a point without any accusations or hostility, that should be fine.
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Bright

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 04:25:46 AM »
I know there are posters that tweak details to make the situation less recognisable. They'll change the names of those involved, the genders, their relationships to them, names of organisations, locations, amongst other things. Sometimes they get confused with which details they've switched.

While I don't do it, I expect a certain degree of fabrication in any post. I don't think it makes a difference.

I think it's rude to call someone out on these discrepancies for no reason other than to go "liar!" Unless the specific details are relevant to the answer that would be given. In that case I think that it's acceptable to ask for clarification, but do it politely, don't go "aha, I caught you in a lie!"

[Edited to add]
I've been rereading the older posts where people have been caught in lies and in the "Co-Irker Tried to Kill Me" thread EHellDame states "I believe it is legitimate to question someone about the inconsistencies of their story". Now she said that in 2008  so things might have changed since then and it is said in context to that thread. 
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 06:28:17 AM by Bright »

Hanna

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 01:32:26 PM »
A few people (including me) have said they are okay with outright fabrications.

If you are okay with it, does anything change that for you?

It changes for me when I see other posters getting sucked into an emotionally harrowing story and expressing empathy for someone.

Ms_Shell

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 01:40:18 PM »
I know what you mean, I think, because I read some older threads in which the OP was found out to be completely fabricated, apparently for sympathy (which they received in spades).  In those cases, I believe it the questioning was handled appropriately.   
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DangerMouth

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Re: Questioning details and discrepancies
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 01:46:09 PM »
A few people (including me) have said they are okay with outright fabrications.

If you are okay with it, does anything change that for you?

It changes for me when I see other posters getting sucked into an emotionally harrowing story and expressing empathy for someone.

I agree. Sucking people into a made-up emotional drama is far worse than changing the name of a business. I have far less feelings about a business than I would about about a poster I've been posting alongside for a year (as in the case of optometry girl).

One is a case of "oh well, bad experience, la la la", the other is a case of a poster you've come to "know" actually getting hurt. There's a world of difference between the two.