Forum anonymity Vs. Subject Matter Experts

Discussion in 'Community Information and Feedback' started by hawk, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    Watching the recent (and sad) events play out with valued members resigning made me realize that an approach used by other forums may be useful.

    I don't know if it's the right answer, but thought I'd mention it.

    The problem is not that a member was anonymous, it was that they were allowed to claim, increasingly, special knowledge, experience, and insight. With no validation.

    The way many service related forums handle this is that if you want to be anonymous, do so. But don't claim or even allude to experience that would make you an authority over others. Other hobby and professional forums are now doing similar. But if you are an authority or have specific experience, allow that to be validated so members can know it's trustworthy.

    If it's of interest I can share how other forums are dealing with this issue while avoiding censorship and loss of privacy.

    Again, I don't know if it's the right thing for this forum. But I think we skate this issue on a routine basis, and now have been burned.
     
  2. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Not a bad idea but in my opinion not really necessary here. I have always found that inaccuracies, errors, dated and misinformation is quickly pointed out by additional posters and then seconded by many. In other words, the site, by nature is self-policing. We have subject matter experts who are readily apparent (Clarkson, et al).

    All posters should trust but verify any information they glean here or on any unofficial site.

    Finally, I was certainly duped by TPG primarily because his information and input was so well constructed. As a former Marine who served during part of his alleged service period, his postings were accurate and provided me no cause to doubt him. Had he been providing bad advice he would have been corrected. It was his personal story that was the biggest part of his fabrication and I, for one, felt no reason to investigate it.
     
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  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    We simply don't have the resources to validate anything other than relying on ourselves and the community to make sure information pertaining to the academies and ROTC are valid. Remember, this puppy is "staffed" by volunteers.
     
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  4. AJC

    AJC Member

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    That is why they are called sea stories instead of true stories.
     
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  5. hawk

    hawk ButterBar Dad

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    As are the other forums, all volunteer... the idea is not to implement a heavy weight validation process. What makes their approach successful is that the majority of posters simply stay out of claiming special knowledge/insight. It's a behavioral thing. And usually just not relevant.

    Put another way, how did TPG's claims help candidates applying to the academies? Not one bit. For the most part, they were totally unrelated and more focused on building participant respect than the forum's charter.

    But if you are on a forum for wannbe airline pilots, wouldn't it be important to know that the guy claiming to be a 20 year veteran with special awards has the experience he is claiming? If unwilling to substantiate, then don't allow them to claim it. Or even bring it up. It's a behavioral change, not an administrative one.

    You can then focus on exceptions that are real value adds. Who are relevant, and have direct experience which will help.

    Confirming someone is a grad is fairly easy. And done quite a bit in the real world. Claims of being admissions, staff, dodmerb are fairly scarce. But not hard at all to confirm.

    FFR would be one that might be worth confirming. Very valuable to know that the advice you are getting is from someone involved in the process.

    Except it's a bit more common than just the one case. Enough that you are starting to see official sources heavily discount unofficial forums, books, etc. (Not just around SAF, either... it's also happening to FB groups, etc.)

    SAF is excellent at providing young, inexperienced candidates with insight on how to get started, where to focus, etc. It's a real gap, and many benefit each cycle from the input provided. The farther the discussion moves from that activity the more variable the feedback is.

    My horse is finished with this particular race, bigger challenges to deal with. And there are forums for those challenges as well, one of which struck me with the difference in how they handled this type of thing. They are essentially immune from this type of concern.

    So just an idea based on how other similar forums deal with the issue.
     

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