Speculation vs. information in question posts

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by matticus008, May 28, 2006.

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  1. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #1
    Having followed MacRumors for 4+ years and being a member for about 18 months, I've noticed that the past few months have shown a sharp increase in the number of speculative replies. Should there be a community rule about answering informational questions with speculation?

    Something along the lines of, "Out of courtesy, please refrain from answering, in an authoritative manner, technical questions outside your fields of expertise. All opinions are welcome on MacRumors and discussion is encouraged where appropriate and/or invited, but in order to provide the best information with minimal clutter, please exercise discretion."

    There are times when MR discussion is a back and forth affair, like what will happen to the eMac or whether the black MacBook is a ripoff. Those are appropriate topics for discussion and opinion and ones with no one correct answer.

    On the other hand, factual questions like "can I use ACD brightness controls in Windows?" shouldn't have to devolve into arguments (that specific thread did not). Posters, at least in my mind, shouldn't post in a thread asking a specific question with a specific answer if they don't know the answer.

    Until recently, this didn't seem widespread. People replied to answerable questions with the answers, and everyone else read quietly and learned a thing or two (or confirmed what they already thought), with the occasional honest mistake. Maybe it's just me, but does this new trend seem problematic to anyone else?
     
  2. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

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    #2
    I would imagine the field of expertise is far to vague. And I do not think you need to be an expert to offer your opinion on a matter or personal advice. The idea of expertise is also somewhat debatable. Can you derive expertise from past situtations and comparable experiences / transactions? Or does that expertise have to come directly from a textbook or lecture.

    I think if we started requiring this expertise, then the community would no longer be needed, we would just need a few smart people to answer everyones question, but thats not really the purpose of a community.

    Do you need to be an expert to answer a question? I can teach a person how to change a tire, but I'm no mechanic and I'm certainely not an expert in car repair. I would imagine that under your system, I have no place, because in a broader sense, I lack expertise. At the same time, I've definitely changed my share of tires on a variety of automobiles. I would imagine this experience has taught me quite a bit, that would be useful to share in a community.
     
  3. matticus008 thread starter macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #3
    I agree on matters of personal advice. But a technical question shouldn't be answered by someone with no relevant authoritative knowledge. For example, if someone asked a question about whether a compiling error was important, someone with no programming experience shouldn't comment that the OP should just ignore it, even if that person had previously seen a friend experience that same error and ignored it successfully. Only a person who understood the error would know the circumstances under which it is and isn't important.

    That's not what I mean. The majority of threads here are discussion-based, talking about recent developments in the Mac world, new products, potential future products, etc. These are issues and topics for debate, discussion, and speculation. There is, however, a large chunk of these forums dedicated to technical questions that have absolute answers, and there seems to be a growing number of members who respond without the appropriate knowledge to do so.

    Certainly you would have a place! If the question were, "how do I change my tire?" you would be able to answer, because you know the answer. If the question was, "which fuse controls the fuel pump on my 2004 Audi A6?" and you'd never owned an Audi, you would lack the necessary expertise and any comment in that thread would be a distraction.
     
  4. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #4
    That's a loaded question, since it is likely on a relay.

    Check your wiring diagram in the Service Manual.
     
  5. matticus008 thread starter macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #5
    :) indeed it is on a relay.
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #6
    Just how would you suggest we enforce such a rule? Send out test forms and then pre-qualify people for answering questions in certain areas? Ask them to state their experience before giving each answer?

    The nature of a forum such as this that that you take answers with a grain of salt, the size of which depends on many things, including knowledge of previous history of someone who has replied. I think the reason more questions are answered less accurately is simply due to an increasing membership with decreasing average knowledge of the subjects at hand, which, really, is the nature of this particular beast.

    Having a rule such as the one you propose would require us - the "staff" - to ascertain the validity of replies and chastise or take additional action against those who violate the rule.

    We do try to be more definitive in the Guides, and hopefully, over time, more answers will be sought and found there. Here in the forums, though, wrong answers will continue to be given (and wrong information will continue to exist in the Guides, but hopefully the problem will be less significant there).
     
  7. matticus008 thread starter macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #7
    I'm not suggesting enforcing it, as I know the moderators are overworked as is. I'm more suggesting putting it up there because it seems to be missing from individual common sense, and because an incorrect answer can be misleading precisely because it's difficult/impossible to know the background of the person providing the answer.

    It would be an honor system thing, as I do believe that most MR members are honest and well-intentioned. It just seems that sometimes in their zeal to help, some of them jump in a little too deep, and a reminder might cut down on it.
     
  8. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #8
    First, I see no reason in having a rule that we will not enforce.

    Second, people think they are qualified to answer when they, in fact, are not. Your answers in this thread were wrong. There is no such restriction on the ability of a person to sell a system they've purchased with the educational discount. You misread the agreement. You can only buy so many of each per academic year, and you can't be an institutional reseller. You can, however, sell the computer you buy for personal use whenever you want - you just can't buy another one in that category for another year. Technically, you must use the system first before selling it.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. matticus008 thread starter macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #9
    When I sign into the Higher Education store and look at their sales policy page, this is what I get:
    Picture 1.png

    In those terms, the phrase quoted in the other thread is a clear statement, and I based the analysis off of the terms provided to me by Apple's site, which are not the ones you provided. I neither misread nor was incorrect in my interpretation given those terms.
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #10
    The terms I quoted are the same. Your interpretation that Apple allows any qualified person to buy one desktop, one mini, one laptop, two displays, two of each software title, one of each iPod family (except for unlimited 512MB Shuffles), and an iSight - each year, mind you - and yet never sell any of them is absolutely wrong. If your interpretation was correct, Apple would effectively be saying that, instead of buying new systems regularly - which brings profit to Apple - they should keep their freshman year purchase until it falls apart because they cannot sell it - which brings no additional profit to Apple. That is patently absurd from a business point of view. They simply provide limits to prevent a business from establishing itself solely to buy Apple systems at a discount and then resell them. You misinterpret the limitations, you state your misrepresentation as fact, and you then post another thread saying that people should be reminded to not post misinformation. Your posts are contrary to your own recommendation.
     
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