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Old September 1 2009, 08:04 PM   #32
Zulu Romeo
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Re: Improving your Sci-Tech Forum

Tachyon Shield wrote: View Post
Jadzia wrote: View Post

I'm tempted to say that opinions are alright as long as they are clearly presented as opinions. People with opinions should make an effort to not derail discussions, and in return, they shouldn't be hounded for proof. Assertions on the other hand should only be made if you can provide evidence for them.
What's the real difference between an opinion and an assertion?? if a person believes something to be true then clearly it's also an assertion otherwise they would not believe it to be the case and would not believe it in the first place.

What you are saying is that everyone needs to write the words 'In my opinion' in front of every single post they make.
If necessary. If it means that the true meaning and context of the person's statement can be clarified. As I've mentioned several times elsewhere, clarification, correction if necessary, and above all communication are the keys to avoiding conflict.

As a side point in this interesting thread, from my experience, to include seemingly throwaway words like "in retrospect" and "allegedly" and "in my opinion" and "from my experience" - in any form of documentation - is of great value from a legal perspective. It saves a lot of bother in terms of expressing meaning and differentiating between fact, opinion, and argument/assertion, and also avoids unnecessary conflict when interpreting the context. Most of all, while it may not point towards the truth (if it's Truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall ) it could eliminate any potential falsehoods and fallacies that may be derived from what is documented.

Tachyon Shield wrote: View Post
Jadzia wrote: View Post
tachyon shield wrote:
Too many people forget where they are. They forget they are in a forum on a Star Trek Science Fiction message board and somehow get the delusion they are the ultimate scientists and that we are all located in planets Earths ultimate Science academy.
Science isn't based on status, so this first remark isn't relevant. Eminent scientists have the distinction that their work hasn't been done before, and that it adds something significant in the grand scheme of things. But anyone can do science.
That's my point exactly, you've took what I said back to front. I am saying too many people think they are the ultimate scientist and that someone such as me has no right to even suggest something different or new.
If it does not conform to their own scientific understanding or limits then they assume the high ground.
How you handle criticism is key when surviving forums like this.

Anyone can "do science." And indeed, anyone can post ideas on an internet forum. It's only when you encounter other people (again, could be anyone) with even a slight scientific background who disagrees with your methods that then you have to think how to react to them. Is the critic someone with a general scientific background, or a person who also wants to create ideas and pitch them, or are they an expert in that particular field you're entering? What do they have to say to you? And what are your options?

Do you have a dim view of the respondent, treat their words with contempt, and repeat your idea and not take it further, hoping that reiteration and repetition of the original assertion, no matter how far removed from the laws of current science it may seem, will equal acceptance among your peers? Or do you take their words of advice and think for a moment, develop the idea to eliminate your mistakes, take into account the constructive criticism, look for evidence that others may have taken similar ideas and done something with it and thus present them to back up your assertion, and devise a plan B, or plan C, or plan D, or even plan Z, and even show evidence or working that your plan works? Taking the former option might make you look petty and ungrateful. Taking the latter option might make you look like a scientist.

As I said before, reputation may seem like you're fighting an uphill battle - don't, it only makes the uphill battle seem worse and will sully the reputation more - but petty snide remarks against those who want to try will not help either, be they from or even directed against an expert scientist or idealistic ideas man. Even the most eminent scientists may have taken criticism poorly.
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