View Poll Results: Is it acceptable to promote unverified information if it raises awareness?

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  • Yes, it is

    3 37.50%
  • Sometimes it is - specify when

    1 12.50%
  • No, it never is

    4 50.00%
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Thread: Is it acceptable to promote unverified information if it raises awareness?

  1. #1

    Is it acceptable to promote unverified information if it raises awareness?

    There is a 'behind the scenes' discussion going on between different members of the Exopolitics community, and it deals with the issue of whether unverified information should be published.

    The discussion started after an article was published on Tomkins which referred to one of his superiors.
    Investigation that was done after the article was published revealed no person with that alleged name existed.
    Further investigation later revealed that the confusion was caused by a typo in the name.
    So, in this case, it was a 'material error'.
    But in the case of 'Capt. Kaye', e.g., it turned out that the names of his superiors were made up.

    The discussion is about whether to publish unverified information, or not.

    Activists and people with backgrounds in marketing thought it was OK to put the information out there, because it raises awareness and draws attention to the cause. The reasoning is that errors can be corrected afterwards.

    People with a background in journalism or research thought it was not acceptable to put the information out there, unless it had been verified.
    (Or rather: unless at least some of it is verified, and with the necessary caveats about items that have not been verified).

    What do you think, and why? Fill out the form above, and post your comments below.

    Thanks.
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
    - Charles Darwin

  2. #2
    Any information that is unverified must clearly be labeled as such. However given the nature of ufology some claims can be difficult or even impossible to verify. Take for example the claims of civilizations on other planets outside our solar system. While none of it can be verified it still is fascinating to read about it.
    My inner Mulder wants to believe, but my inner Scully remains skeptical.

  3. #3
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Don't see how we can exclude such information without discounting all single witness sighting.
    Does a reliable solo pilot who reports being buzzed deserve having his story shared? IMO such a case does rate promotion, if only to encourage others to search the area FOR verification.

    Labeling the event "solo witness" would plainly paint the story unverified. Avoiding the unpleasant aspects of "Fake News".
    The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but
    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
    Attachment 1008

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by calikid View Post
    Don't see how we can exclude such information without discounting all single witness sighting.
    Does a reliable solo pilot who reports being buzzed deserve having his story shared? IMO such a case does rate promotion, if only to encourage others to search the area FOR verification.

    Labeling the event "solo witness" would plainly paint the story unverified. Avoiding the unpleasant aspects of "Fake News".
    OK, sticking to your example. Somebody contacts you, says he's a pilot and saw a UFO yesterday while flying at 5 PM.
    Do you announce to the world: "Pilot sees UFO!"
    or do you check whether he indeed is a pilot, whether he was flying, whether he makes claims like that often, or ... ?

    A solo witness does not mean nothing can be verified. Apart from content validation (did anybody else see a UFO? Can other causes be excluded? etc. ) there also is the factor of witness reliability. So, there actually is quite a bit of verifying that can be done...
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it.
    - Jef Mallett

    Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
    - Charles Darwin

  5. #5
    I think it's fine to publish it as long as you say / quote the source. If you are uncertain or concerned about the veracity of the claims it would be a good to point that out clearly. It would also be wise to check as much as is possible if anything can be verified promoting nonsense doesn't help anyone it wastes time and confuses people, like we aren't confused enough. Tompkins arrogance and bullishness comes over very strongly in his books and interviews, I am yet to see anyone take him to task over his fabulous stories and pretty pathetic drawings.

  6. #6
    If it raises awareness and inspires others to share their own stories and experiences then I don't see anything wrong with those ones who are already sharing their unverified stories on forums and at conferences. In one way or another, all information is useful in this field because it helps us put the pieces of the puzzle together. Under the circumstances, that's the best we can do.
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  7. #7
    Lead Moderator calikid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garuda View Post
    OK, sticking to your example. Somebody contacts you, says he's a pilot and saw a UFO yesterday while flying at 5 PM.
    Do you announce to the world: "Pilot sees UFO!"
    or do you check whether he indeed is a pilot, whether he was flying, whether he makes claims like that often, or ... ?

    A solo witness does not mean nothing can be verified. Apart from content validation (did anybody else see a UFO? Can other causes be excluded? etc. ) there also is the factor of witness reliability. So, there actually is quite a bit of verifying that can be done...
    Sounds as if the question is incomplete. Maybe add on a "...with complete lack of due diligence".

    You are talking about investigating the reporting party, not the incident itself.
    In my example, THE SIGHTING is the Headline/information to be published.
    And that information, as we all well know from observational experience, may never be verified.

    From a scientific perspective; would not every hypothesis be considered "unverified information" and therefore (if your statement holds true) be unworthy of publication?
    Routinely hypothesis are put forth to elicit peer review, and hopefully attain verification.
    As long as they are clearly flagged "theory", what's the damage?
    The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but
    progress. -- Joseph Joubert
    Attachment 1008

  8. #8
    I like Leonard Stringfield's philosophy, which was put the information out there as tentative or not yet investigated and let it fight for survival. (Not his words.) Better that than the information be lost.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    I like Leonard Stringfield's philosophy, which was put the information out there as tentative or not yet investigated and let it fight for survival. (Not his words.) Better that than the information be lost.
    I like that train-of-thought...

  10. #10
    Senior Member M-Albion-3D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    I like Leonard Stringfield's philosophy, which was put the information out there as tentative or not yet investigated and let it fight for survival. (Not his words.) Better that than the information be lost.
    Aptly put Doc....ditto here too.
    "The more you look, the more you see...the more you see, the more you know"
    - M.Scott

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