Ignorance breeds confidence. As an administrator, how do you deal with it?

CarpCharacin

Habitué
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Aug 19, 2016
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1,352
One thing that I have noticed that is very relevant on forums, is that ignorance breeds confidence. What I mean by that, is someone who knows little to nothing about a particular subject will often be much more confident about their "knowledge" than an expert in that particular subject. In psychology, this is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. People with low ability assess their own ability as being much higher than it is in reality. This is something that I think most people have done, including myself, but the real question is, what do you do when you have a member who knows nothing about a particular subject, yet their confidence and illusory superiority is preventing them from being able to learn about said subject? Members like that will often cause problems, as they will continue to post misinformation, and when inevitably confronted about it, they will continue to defend their false position, even when proven wrong. As an admin, what do you do when situations like that arise?
 

cornnfedd

Captain Futurama
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Aug 12, 2006
Messages
1,039
The problem can be that people can hide behind a keyboard and just make stuff up and sound like an expert, a lot of people just google it and then make it up as they go along, lots of these people and not too much you can do about it I guess except correct them where you can. Also taking the pi$$ out of them in front of everyone else usually teaches them to shut there mouth if they dont actually know about the topic.

It can actually be beneficial as it can cause big discussion or arguments on your forums which can be great for views and replies etc :)

If it is a serial offender, that is clearly wrong all the time, AND is really annoying the other members then a quiet PM telling them to maybe tone it down a bit is probably a good idea, no doubt as they are right with everything they say they will rant and rave back to you thus resulting in a forum ban for a period of time.
 

Joel R

Fan
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
812
One thing that I have noticed that is very relevant on forums, is that ignorance breeds confidence. What I mean by that, is someone who knows little to nothing about a particular subject will often be much more confident about their "knowledge" than an expert in that particular subject. In psychology, this is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. People with low ability assess their own ability as being much higher than it is in reality. This is something that I think most people have done, including myself, but the real question is, what do you do when you have a member who knows nothing about a particular subject, yet their confidence and illusory superiority is preventing them from being able to learn about said subject? Members like that will often cause problems, as they will continue to post misinformation, and when inevitably confronted about it, they will continue to defend their false position, even when proven wrong. As an admin, what do you do when situations like that arise?
I would be impressed if this post, especially the term Dunning-Kruger effect, was completely fictional to make you sound like you're familiar with psychology terms.
 

CarpCharacin

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I would be impressed if this post, especially the term Dunning-Kruger effect, was completely fictional to make you sound like you're familiar with psychology terms.
I am not that familiar with psychology terms, and my post isn't fictional, it's just about something that I've observed to be relevant on forums, that's all. And if I was confident that I was familiar with psychology terms when I'm really not, that would be the Dunning-Kruger effect in action, LOL.
 
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CarpCharacin

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Also taking the pi$$ out of them in front of everyone else usually teaches them to shut there mouth if they dont actually know about the topic.
I pretty much agree, if I encounter someone like that I will usually post why they are wrong, and then I'll tell them that if they still believe they are right, they should back up their claim with actual evidence, but I don't think you should be too aggressive in your reply, because that sets a bad example. You don't need to know everything about a particular subject to post about it, it's just that when members start acting like they know everything about that particular subject when they really don't, then it becomes a problem.
 
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Lala

Participant
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Jan 2, 2010
Messages
95
We have it in forum rules - speak from personal experience (with the understanding that your experience might not apply to others) or cite your sources.
 

southernlady

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We have it in forum rules - speak from personal experience (with the understanding that your experience might not apply to others) or cite your sources.
We do too. And our members LOVE to cite sources. But we are a medical based community trying to help each other. Our own experiences are vital but what applies to one person sure as the sun rises daily won't appl to X, Y, and Z people. The bad part about most medical studies is that we are the spotted zebras among horses.
 

Lala

Participant
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
95
We do too. And our members LOVE to cite sources. But we are a medical based community trying to help each other. Our own experiences are vital but what applies to one person sure as the sun rises daily won't appl to X, Y, and Z people. The bad part about most medical studies is that we are the spotted zebras among horses.
We're a mental health community, same issue. I just make sure that threads have a variety of contradictory input, so that it's clear that the issue discussed doesn't have a one-size-fits-all solution.
 

MarkFL

La Villa Strangiato
Joined
Jul 3, 2017
Messages
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Most of the sites I admin are mathematics based, so it's relatively easy to pare the chaff from the wheat. But, I do hate to see anyone misinformed, and if I can demonstrate someone is wrong, or does not have sufficient evidence to back their claims, I will gladly point this out.
 

mysiteguy

Migration Expert
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Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,093
I might reply with the correct information if users haven't already. I won't berate them over it, it doesn't look professional. The only exception is if what they posted is dangerous, and they still refuse to accept correct information.

One example of this was when a member posted how he hoisted an engine out of a car, with a picture of him under the car and the engine up in the air a few inches above the engine mounts. It was held from a contraption made from 2x4 wood. The wood was bending under the weight.

When told how dangerous this was, that the wood could snap while he was under the car, he responded it wasn't a problem because the car was held up with jack stands. When told that jack stands are made to hold up static weight, and would likely fail if the engine fell and then the car would crush him - he insisted they wouldn't.

Having heard too many stories of people dying or being permanently and severely injured from collapsed jack stands, I couldn't let it go unchallenged. Especially since dying under a car like that is usually not instant, but a horrible suffering death where the person expires because they can't breathe much (if at all).
 
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southernlady

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2,424
I might reply with the correct information if users haven't already. I won't berate them over it, it doesn't look professional. The only exception is if what they posted is dangerous, and they still refuse to accept correct information.

One example of this was when a member posted how he hoisted an engine out of a car, with a picture of him under the car and the engine up in the air a few inches above the engine mounts. It was held from a contraption made from 2x4 wood. The wood was bending under the weight.

When told how dangerous this was, that the wood could snap while he was under the car, he responded it wasn't a problem because the car was held up with jack stands. When told that jack stands are made to hold up static weight, and would likely fail if the engine fell and then the car would crush him - he insisted they wouldn't.

Having heard too many stories of people dying or being permanently and severely injured from collapsed jack stands, I couldn't let it go unchallenged. Especially since dying under a car like that is usually not instant, but a horrible suffering death where the person expires because they can't breathe much (if at all).
I can understand that but I see that as the Darwin principle at work.

If my members post incorrect information, at BEST it's not gonna hurt them long term. BUT IT can kill them and very slowly. The problem with not letting them do that to themselves is it gives the medical community a bad taste for what we, as a forum, believe is one of the best options around. And if deaths occur (and yes, they have), it gives doctors just another example of "see why this is a bad idea"?
 

southernlady

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Mine is actually a weight loss surgery community: http://bariatricfacts.org/ Most of the forum is available to be read as a guest. I only have two boards on there not open to guests out of many. I don't want to discourage people seeking a solution to have to register just to find the answers they might need.
 
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mysiteguy

Migration Expert
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Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,093
Is your site an f-body forum? Just curious as it was in various f-body communities that I cut my teeth with forums.
Yes, it's www.z28.com . I purchased it a few years ago when the previous owner lost interest, and let it completely die. It was down to a dozen or so posts per week (at best, and half of those posts were about how the forum had died). It's not where it could be (yet), but has had significant improvements by adding articles, upgrading to XF, getting involved in the forums (including buying an F-body car), etc. It now ranges between a dozen to several dozen posts per day, and continues to increase.

The domain alone is worth what I paid for the site, three letter domains are extremely hard to come by and most command top dollar in the domain marketplace. Though I have no plans to sell it, I rather enjoy the subject matter. :)
 

Nev_Dull

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Apr 27, 2010
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I have to say I like these types of posters. Rather than getting into a row with them, I find what they say as an excellent jumping off point for a good discussion about the right information.
 

MarkFL

La Villa Strangiato
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Jul 3, 2017
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1,251
Yes, it's www.z28.com . I purchased it a few years ago when the previous owner lost interest, and let it completely die. It was down to a dozen or so posts per week (at best, and half of those posts were about how the forum had died). It's not where it could be (yet), but has had significant improvements by adding articles, upgrading to XF, getting involved in the forums (including buying an F-body car), etc. It now ranges between a dozen to several dozen posts per day, and continues to increase.
I may have been a member there a long time ago. The site name is very familiar. :)

otown2.jpg

I have since given the car to my nephew, but lots of great memories. :D
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
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Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,576
you have a member who knows nothing about a particular subject, yet their confidence and illusory superiority is preventing them from being able to learn about said subject? Members like that will often cause problems, as they will continue to post misinformation, and when inevitably confronted about it, they will continue to defend their false position, even when proven wrong
Tolerate and allow opinions to evolve through civilized discourse. We were all chest-puffing fools once, confident about knowing better... We just kept embetterring our knowledge, correcting erroneous beliefs.

I see discussions that can easily gain informed contributors as a general positive, as long as they dont turn into a general criticism of the individuals rather than the arguments they put forward. Getting personally criticized in a community youre looking to belong to would make even the most openminded ignorant defensive and decrease their willingness to 'concede victory' to opposing arguments. Do note that participation on forums is not limited to specific subjects, and that eventually members pick the discussions they join or avoid, and past tense exchanges may not necessarilly be representative of a member's ability to fit in.
 

Horton

Aspirant
Joined
Nov 20, 2017
Messages
33
Dunning-Kruger effect?!?!? Wow that is awesome! 10000% true.

I have two types of users. Those with a lot "more enthusiasm than knowledge” and those with a "lot of knowledge who are discouraged by the first group”. Since the appeal of my site is the technical aspects of the sport it is a real problem that the elite in the sport read my site but rarely post because of the knuckleheads. I work hard to temper the level of stupid but it is a difficult balancing act.

First and foremost it is important that the users see me a lot and know that I come with a long background and experience on the subject. An unknown admin or moderator would quickly get run over. Users who disregard my knowledge and are clearly ignorant eventually get hammered. The cool thing is I have developed a very good culture and moderate very little now. Years ago I had to be on top of every thread. I know it sounds heavy handed but I have almost no drama these days and the IQ of the average post is not as bad as it could be.

When users say really stupid $h*t I call them out if I see it and award a Panda. That way it is me keeping order and making it funny. Most of the time a Panda is taken by the users as a badge of honor. I super dumb comment will earn a Triple Panda.

Joel R would have gotten a Panda for making fun of Dunning-Kruger without Googleing it.
amedia.tumblr.com_fe497dd337d9af8479bb6398b9565d16_tumblr_inline_mg6n5ltl6X1rxe4lt.gif
 
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