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(Phys Org2)   Disinformation flourished during the pandemic, and researchers don't know why. Question for Discussion: What do YOU do when someone asks you a question, and you don't know the answer?   (phys.org) divider line
    More: Interesting, Google, Supply and demand, Reliability, small team of researchers, demand of COVID-19 news, Source, sources of news, unreliable news sources  
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143 clicks; posted to Discussion » on 25 May 2022 at 2:20 PM (12 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



26 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-05-25 2:29:33 PM  
What do I do? Well, I make up a convoluted and unlikely answer for fun, then cite a number of resources that sound plausible enough but are unlikely to be checked. Take for example, Chief Justice Bill Watterson's examples through his many rulings that he published over the years - the explanation does not have to be accurate, but you need to be confident in it.
 
2022-05-25 2:33:10 PM  
People just want to believe what they want to believe, stop trying to insert rationality into irrational beliefs.

As for the subject of the headline, it depends on the context. If its my 3 year old nephew, I tell him the craziest lie I can think of, particularly if repeating it would be embarrassing for my sister. If its my boss, I tell him I don't know yet, but I'll find out and let him know. If it's someone I don't know/care about, I'll just say "dunno" and leave it at that.
 
2022-05-25 2:46:08 PM  
Certain groups have learned that disinformation is more powerful (and cheaper) than true information. Hey, here in the US it got them a President and tons of Congress and House seats. What defies logic in the case of COVID is the disinformation on that is costing their member's lives, to no apparent benefit to the dispensers of disinformation. Nobody can figure out yet why a certain political party would actively work to kill its own members.
 
2022-05-25 2:51:47 PM  
Depends on if I like you or not. If I don't like you, don't ask me for directions.
 
2022-05-25 3:12:58 PM  
All answers that aren't on the level of Euclidean proofs get error bars and caveats.  If I don't know the answer, the error bar is +/- 0.5
 
2022-05-25 3:16:41 PM  
Tell them to look it Up


And use yahoo answers
 
2022-05-25 3:25:57 PM  
I might make up something outrageous, depending on who is asking and what they want to know.

Or I just might google it.

Or both.
 
2022-05-25 3:31:42 PM  
I make up a plausible-sounding answer which I confidently deliver in my middle-aged man voice.

Then I tell them I just made that up and that maybe they shouldn't ask me.
 
2022-05-25 3:49:44 PM  
Depends on how old they are....

Normally, I just admit it. but if it's a kid asking the question, then I make up some fantastic pile of bullshiat to entertain them with.
 
2022-05-25 3:53:11 PM  
nobody asks me anything
 
2022-05-25 3:53:32 PM  
if at work and an honest question about work, I feel that an incorrect answer, given with the best intentions, is better than no answer. so if they ask a question and I don't actually know the answer, I will admit to not knowing and provide what I believe to be an accurate answer.

if not at work, all bets are off. i will answer whatever i think is funny at the time.
 
2022-05-25 3:57:23 PM  
"Well, there are both positive points and angles to that question; and I've not heard any that provide a definitive result.  It's not only a personal question, but one that may well affect us as a people, a culture, a civilization.

So, paper, I guess."
 
2022-05-25 4:06:08 PM  

Martian_Astronomer: I make up a plausible-sounding answer which I confidently deliver in my middle-aged man voice.


I like doing this as well, but making it just a little absurd in some way so I get met with a "really?" as a reply, so I can follow up with "no not really, I don't f*cking know...you've got a pocket computer...look it up."
 
2022-05-25 4:32:40 PM  
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2022-05-25 4:40:37 PM  
"The researchers were not able to ascertain why the unreliable news sources were able to respond more quickly."

Not able? Or not willing?

I'm just asking questions here.
 
2022-05-25 4:41:58 PM  

vudukungfu: Tell them to look it Up


And use yahoo answers


I tell them to go to the Fark.com POL tab and look in the relevant thread that will be full of well-thought-out answers, reasoning, and polite discourse.
 
2022-05-25 4:44:03 PM  
If it's a work thing and I'm expected to be a resource, "I don't know, but I'll find out and get back to you with the answer" tends to work great - mostly because I always follow through on that promise, and learn a little something new about a piece of equipment or procedure that i should know inside and out along the way.

I'm more than happy to theorize and pull guesses out of my ass about other stuff when bullshiatting with friends or coworkers about other stuff, but make it clear I'm doing so.
 
2022-05-25 5:01:54 PM  
At least once a week i say the following.  "i don't know but i'll ask the people who do and get back to you."
 
2022-05-25 5:10:06 PM  
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2022-05-25 5:17:34 PM  
Luckily blank stupid stares are right in my wheelhouse.
 
2022-05-25 5:38:21 PM  

Firm Tautology: "The researchers were not able to ascertain why the unreliable news sources were able to respond more quickly."

Not able? Or not willing?

I'm just asking questions here.


Well, for one, they don't get bogged down with burdensome facts.
 
2022-05-25 6:09:23 PM  
I simply tell them that the answer is blowing in the wind, then admit that I was just too damn lazy to go chasing after it.
 
2022-05-25 6:49:53 PM  
Uh, the internet.

Thank you.  Now give me my grant, and I'll tell you some other stuff that  the internet does.
 
2022-05-25 7:30:30 PM  
As a one currently staffing a reference desk at a local library you can bet I have a plethora of tools to aid me in this situation.
 
2022-05-25 7:36:28 PM  

Mikey1969: Depends on how old they are....

Normally, I just admit it. but if it's a kid asking the question, then I make up some fantastic pile of bullshiat to entertain them with.


Had a junior high Algebra teacher that would answer, "It's magic!...." then wait a couple beats and go on to explain whatever the question was about.
 
2022-05-25 10:37:16 PM  
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