For Aron: Question #3

>> Thursday, June 18, 2009

Aron asked: How do I ensure I am not miss leading my audience?

When the potential for misleading comes, there are two ways (that come to my mind). First is to provide inaccurate data. That's something you can address by making sure your data comes from a reputable source andmaking sure your data is up to date. I also recommend giving any data the "smell" test - does it makes sense to you? If it doesn't, perhaps you should hold off until you understand it better.

The other way that comes to mind has to do with how you present your opinions, i.e. as something other than your opinions. You, of course, can have any opinion you like. You don't technically have to couch your opinion as an opinion. But, I like to make a distinction between what I know and what I think or believe. That doesn't mean you have to, but, keeping the clarification crystal clear is a way or minimizing the possibility of misleading your audience.

For some of us, we also strive to go one step further, by taking the time to think and examine our opinions, testing them, challenging them. Why? Because having a reasoned and thoughtful opinion is, in my opinion, better than having a thoughtless ill-considered one.

If one is stating an opinion, might as well make it a good one. And, as others challenge it, if you're in the habit of challenging yourself, you are more apt to listen to different points of view. And nothing is more conducive to improving your opinion than a mind open to new data, new opinions and new perspectives.


  • Shakespeare

    Nothing is worse than a person who misleads not only himself (or herself) but all the people he (she) is speaking to because he (she) won't examine beliefs. If something is true, questioning it will likely only prove it truer, and if something is false, I'd rather know outright than walk around for years with the delusion.

  • Stephanie B

    In my experience, some people care more about being "right" than being correct. I'm with Shakespearemom - I wouldn't want to be one of those people. They rarely contribute to the greater good.

    June 19, 2009 10:39 AM

  • Doctor Faustroll

    Is Miss Leading looking for Mister Follows?

  • Stephanie B

    As someone married to someone severely dyslexic (and knowing Aron is as well), I tend to cut a lot of slack for phonetic spelling mistakes. It impresses me how well they can communicate despite their challenges.

    Perhaps I should have corrected it, but that would be my error for not doing so.

  • The Mother

    Wait, Shakespearemom and Stephanie--if we all started examining our deeply held belief systems, we would see a massive re-evaluation of society. Societal structure (based, as it is, on widely-held beliefs) would collapse. The people would become amoral, because they wouldn't have society to tell them what to do, and anarchy would ensue. People would start eating each other.

    That is what religions try to tell us, anyway.

    For Aron: There is no harm in speaking your opinion. The problem comes when you pretend that it is fact. Unfortunately, so few people understand the difference.

    There is also the minor problem of being certain that your SOURCES are not misleading YOU. That requires a level of understanding of the subject--for instance, knowing how/why a medical study might not quite really say what the media claim that it says requires an understanding of how those studies are done, such things as compounding variables, and probably a certain level of anatomic/pharmacologic/biochemical understanding.

    I would simply suggest that you refrain from opining about areas that you have no reference point to thoroughly understand. For instance, Jenny McCarthy SHOULD NOT be running around the country talking about vaccines. She's an actress, and not even a very good one.

  • Aron Sora

    No, it cool, I need to get better at spelling stuff. Sorry about my poor comment grammar.

    This might be a problem. I have alot of people who read my work (I have a high time on site), but no comments. This leads me to think that 'm presenting my work as fact. Plus, I'm a noob, I just graduated from High School. I don't have any really experience. But, that's why I took AP Stat. I now understand the studies I read. But still, AP Stat is basic, I feel I need to know so much more before even expressing my opinion. Maybe having an about me page will allow my readers to see that I am a noob.

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