The increase of inaccurate advice on TT

Ignorant users posting inaccurate info on important topics   24 votes

  1. 1. Is anyone else frustrated by the increase of inaccurate information by posters who know absolutely nothing about the topic on which they are posting?

    • I value freedom of speech to the extent that I don't care whether or not people who come here asking for help get screwed over.
    • We shouldn't make life even harder for those already in a difficult situation and it would be acceptable to censor posters who are clueless on certain topics.

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100 posts in this topic

This thread is hilarious. A true microcosm of TT.

Commenting on the original question, does anybody come to TT for personal expert advice? Seriously? Granted, no harm asking, but the ultimate advice is to contact the Mietverein, Lawyer-Up, Steuerberater, Arbeitsamt, Polizeistelle, Insurace Broker, Ausländerbehörde, Jugendamt, Aufsichtsrat, doctor... etc.

On the other hand, an exchange of personal experience from the herd is not to be dismissed (unless you are female and have been out of the country the last decade). Isn't that why people log-on here? Indeed some of the stuff on the ladies threads could never be bought for money... gentlemen.

 

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@optimista TT was invaluable to me before and after I moved over here.  At that time there WERE many more people coming for advice, usually getting it, but also getting abused by various users, many of whom are no longer active here.

 

But in the last 2 or 3 years things seem to have changed a lot.  Fewer looking for advice, more piss-taking, fewer posters, and the overall content has narrowed in scope.  It's just not the wealth of information it used to be.

 

Disclaimer:  it could be that this is purely a personal take.  Meaning maybe I don't find it such a wealth of information as I don't need so much information any more?  Maybe the sense of narrow content is just a function of how many times I've seen the same topics covered over and over again, merely for having been here for so (too?) long?

 

eta:  I think it's more accurate to describe what I was looking for as "knowledgeable" advice.  Of course for bulletproof expert advice a profi is always needed.

 

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, optimista said:

Commenting on the original question, does anybody come to TT for personal expert advice? Seriously?

 

There are 2 TTers who have supplied me with valuable personal expert advice via PMs & long may they continue to do so.

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Yes, we don't see what goes on behind the curtain via PM's. I often get messages asking for different kinds of advice from very personal, my take as a landlord and some other things. Not everyone wants to post publicly and mostly because of all the crap they see when people do.

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1 hour ago, optimista said:

the ultimate advice is to contact the Mietverein, Lawyer-Up, Steuerberater, Arbeitsamt, Polizeistelle, Insurace Broker, Ausländerbehörde, Jugendamt, Aufsichtsrat, doctor... etc.

I think most people would agree with this, but TT is, or should be, a good place to take the first steps, to ask others about their experience and to find out what the next steps should be.

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My take on this is

1. you need to differentiate between what is meant to be advice and what is just sharing thoughts / giving food for thought or even merely asking questions

2. censoring - even if it was practical - wouldn´t help as whoever is censored could simply post using a different username

3 TT isn´t - and can´t be expected to be - a website for real experts only. For that you have to use places like https://www.frag-einen-anwalt.de/ and similiar. Therefore, it´s completey legitimate for laymen to share their opinions / guesses. It would be desirable though if it´s made clear what is to be considered just that and what´s meant to be real advice.

4. Maybe there should be a feature which allows members to make clear what degree of authority they´re claiming. Like e. g. a scale from 1 to 3 or 10 or whatever ranging from "self-confessed ignorant" to "Panda-style expert" which you can apply with one click (just like the greenie symbol). That might reduce misunderstandings and avoid the need to constantly put on disclaimers like IANAL.

5. @engelchen: It would be a pity if you stopped posting. TT would be a more civil place but that wouldn´t compensate for losing your expert input.

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First of all, thank you for the (mostly) constructive posts. It is interesting to see some other viewpoints.

 

On 15.3.2019, 12:43:58, cfq said:

I think it is useful to know the correct answer to a question AND also be able to understand 'why' another answer is wrong. That gives a fuller picture to the OP and whoever will read that post in the future. Censoring then makes no sense, but a way to highlight why an answer is wrong would certainly be helpful.

 

The only problem is that many posters here don't understand German and even those that do cannot necessarily understand German well enough to read the laws and court decisions. Furthermore, I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to write a complete essay for each question I answer.

 

On 15.3.2019, 13:05:04, balticus said:

One implementation idea:    ask the Site Owner or Admins if certain threads can get a special designation, call it "useful info" or "procedural blahblah" or whatever.

 

Once this designation is provided, that thread can be censored.    Personal attacks, insults and off topic rambling could be removed.   The threads should be moved to their own special section.    It might make the administration easier and it would give new visitors confidence that the posts in this section are serious and well thought out.  

 

That is a really interesting idea, I'd be willing to contribute under those circumstances.

 

On 15.3.2019, 13:05:04, balticus said:

By the way @engelchen, your contributions are much appreciated and I hope you continue posting. 

 

Thank you. I am not going to flounce. I'm just not going to bother with the immigration and citizenship questions anymore.

 

 

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On 15.3.2019, 17:13:21, Kommentarlos said:

 

I think they would need to loose their anonymity if they were offering their opinions in a more formalized context.

 

If I wanted the liability issues, I'd start my own website and just kick the ignorant fools I don't like off.

 

@Metall has already covered all the reasons, why I wouldn't be interested in posting with my full name.

 

Quote

One last thing before I go off the air - if our casual experts were to lose (not "loose") their anonymity, it would take about a New York minute before a TTer reported them to some German authority for practicing without a license, or stick it to the taxman, or tell their employer about a "forbidden side gig" etc. etc., just to get them in trouble.

So please respect the distance they keep. Else no more free advice.

 

 

On 16.3.2019, 12:35:03, fraufruit said:

Yes, we don't see what goes on behind the curtain via PM's. I often get messages asking for different kinds of advice from very personal, my take as a landlord and some other things. Not everyone wants to post publicly and mostly because of all the crap they see when people do.

 

I haven't bothered much with PMs, however, I'm thinking that it is time to read and clear out my inbox.

 

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4 minutes ago, engelchen said:

I haven't bothered much with PMs, however, I'm thinking that it is time to read and clear out my inbox.

 

When they open with "Excuse me for bothering you but you seem like one of the most rational and friendly people....", I can't resist. I love nice compliments.

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17 hours ago, engelchen said:

The only problem is that many posters here don't understand German and even those that do cannot necessarily understand German well enough to read the laws and court decisions. Furthermore, I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to write a complete essay for each question I answer.

 

Glad to have made it to the shortlist!

 

I meant to suggest using a format similar to that of StackExchange, where there can be comments to each question to clarify its scope and then there are the actual answers, which people can up- or downvote. Each answer can be commented on, so in case the answer is inaccurate, another user could point that out in that space, so that any future readers have extra context for assessing the validity of its contents.

 

I don't think one would need to translate anything in their answers, nor write essays. Just be concise and point to the relevant reference, be it a law or court decision.

 

The practical aspects of implementing this is another issue, but it might just be a way to address questions that require one answer rather than an endless discussion, which is what threads in a forum tend to promote.

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8 hours ago, cfq said:

 

I meant to suggest using a format similar to that of StackExchange, where there can be comments to each question to clarify its scope and then there are the actual answers, which people can up- or downvote.

 

Toytown only just got rid of the downvote option.

 

In my own humble opinion Toytown has always been a toxic mess and many a new user left due to abusive comments about learning to use search.  I comment sometimes on employment, but I do so knowing people will ignore it or argue.  If I had a problem with that I'd stop posting, not call for other to be silenced.

 

If engelchen stops posting on such matters, it would be a shame, but I for one would prefer that to silencing people who disagree with me.  Just my opinion.

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I'll weigh in with my 2 cents on this one:

 

Toytown is a forum for English-speakers in Germany. It was never intended to be a source of verified expert advice and probably never will be. Aside from the fact that such features aren't supported by the off-the-shelf forum software used, and it's obvious that no major modifications can be expected in future, it would potentially open the forum staff/owners up to liability issues - completely unnecessarily - and require them to be the arbiter of truth.

 

It's highly annoying when people claim to be experts (or even qualified to comment) on issues, even though - in two cases that spring to mind immediately - they haven't even lived in Germany for many years or even decades and, in one case, still post like they do. But that's not specific to Toytown; it's a general Internet phenomenon that's been around forever, as evidenced in this classic headline from The Onion:

area_man.JPG.ce5abe6ceb597183d617fb5158e

 

Or, if you prefer xkcd:

5c966ec5d5dca_someone-is-wrong-on-intern

 

tl;dr: it would be nice if it stopped, but I highly doubt it will and I would be extremely surprised if it did due to action by the forum operators.

 

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On 3/22/2019, 5:36:54, engelchen said:

I find jeba’s insistence on posting inaccurate information to be particularly heinous because he is in effect perpetuating the myth of anchor babies.

Thanks for making me aware of the concept of anchor babies. Other than that I can only repeat myself:

 

On 3/18/2019, 5:36:41, jeba said:

1. you need to differentiate between what is meant to be advice and what is just sharing thoughts / giving food for thought or even merely asking questions

 

On 3/22/2019, 4:21:50, engelchen said:

I'm just not going to bother with the immigration and citizenship questions anymore.

Just because you dislike the postings of others shouldn´t be reason to withhold your knowledge from those who might be in need of it.

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Since you're the reason why engelchen started this thread, jeba, you might want to soften your tone.

 

And yes, insisting that your way should be the right way even after others repeatedly point out how wrong you are makes you look extremely foolish.

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17 hours ago, zwiebelfisch said:

many a new user left due to abusive comments about learning to use search.

 

What do you mean by abusive? I'm open to learning a kinder and gentler way to suggest the search function if you have one.

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5 hours ago, jeba said:
On 22.3.2019, 16:21:50, engelchen said:

I'm just not going to bother with the immigration and citizenship questions anymore.

Just because you dislike the postings of others shouldn´t be reason to withhold your knowledge from those who might be in need of it.

 

That's a typical German comeback - now jeba claims @engelchen is OBLIGED to share her knowledge!

That's rich!

 

Pay her first, then make her.

 

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51 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

What do you mean by abusive? I'm open to learning a kinder and gentler way to suggest the search function if you have one.

I have (in the past, on other forums) done a search and linked to it, and said something like

I have done a search for you and found the following *insert link* you may find other results if you put a different word/words in the search box, its at the top of the page right side, and looks like a magnifying glass. That way people get an answer in the form of links, and if they do not know where the search is they are gently aimed in its direction without being made to feel stupid - sometimes it works!

I am new and joined after using the information here pretty much since I have been in Germany, so to all the people who post factual answers, there are probably a lot more people that read them and who can see the posters that know their facts, and who take note and will learn from them, so to all those casual experts, please do not stop poisting, you help more people than you may realise. 

 

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Thank you for the suggestion, Susie T. I normally just suggest a couple of words to put in the search box and let them do it but only after checking myself that there are some hits.

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23 hours ago, El Jeffo said:

... it would potentially open the forum staff/owners up to liability issues ...

I think I detect angst. Time to do something different?

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