How to do it
Posted by Caroline on August 11, 1998 at 01:04:47:
In response to More clarification requested, please, written by Linden on August 10, 1998 at 23:43:03
] If someone asks a question, should we give references and full details when answering? For example, when I stated that there were a lot of prostitutes in London, should I have stated how many, at what time, and the source for my statement?
] It would put a cramp on things, since I don't always have my reference books to hand when I'm posting. One of the reasons I like this board is that it's an escape from the academic style, where you have to give references if you say that the sun rises in the east.
It does put a cramp on things, and it's almost impossible to do it all the time. What I ask is that if it is a fact that can be substantiated, then you include a reference. This is so that anyone else, who wants to delve further can do so. It also means that when the post is archived, a researcher in a year's time, doesn't e-mail you about a statement that you've forgotten about! A reference does not have to be formalised, and I don't think it's possible to have a freeflowing conversation with everyone hesitating and checking the accuracy of their fact before posting.
Quite often, when you have something to say you cannot remember exactly where the knowledge in your head came from. It's just something that you read somewhere, sometime, something that you've always believed to be true, something you think is the case but you are not absolutely sure. If this is the case, all you have to do is to say so. Guessing is fine, supposition is fine, vague memories is fine, as long as that is clear.
Here's an example:
Jane Austen was unhappily married to Tom Fowle.
If you put up something like that, on its own, unsubstantiated, then anyone else has the right to ask for confirmation of your source.On the other hand, if it's prefaced with "I read somewhere that...." or "I think that ......, everyone realises that it's an informal comment, not something cast in stone.( And before you say so,I know that you can tell the difference.However, not everyone is quite as well versed in academic debate as you are....)
You are right, this Board is an escape from the Academic style, Linden. However,we are still trying to get to the bottom of things, to expand our knowledge, and to build up a bank of information that can be used by others. The Life and Times Board is different from other boards in that it is primarily a 'fact-based' board rather than an 'opinion-based' one.I don't think it's wrong to give up a little freedom and informality in order to maintain a certain standard of credibility, do you?
Now to those prostitues of yours;-
You said there were lots of them. That's fine, but I wish you'd gone a bit further.How do you know, for sure?Were there really proportionately more prostitutes then than now? I think you are probably right, but I'd like to know more, or how to find more about this.I asked if anyone had any more information to add to this.That wasn't a challenge to your integrity, but an attempt to open up a knotted up conversation in a way that will benefit all of us.
- Thanks for that Linden 00:05:17 8/12/98 (0)
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