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Thread: Crowdsourcing

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Crowdsourcing

    When we ask for opinions on a particular pen or aspect of a pen we are in essence crowdsourcing, and in fact to a certain extent the existence of any kind of forum is also a kind of crowdsource. So, that got me wondering a little - I know comments about this kind of thing pop up from time to time in various threads, but thought it deserved a dedicated thread.

    Do people feel that there are certain subject areas - of a presumed normal life - that it would be appropriate or not appropriate to put out for the purpose of crowdsource date/info/opinion that may help a person understand the subject better? I suppose the obvious one is healthcare, for which most threads usually contain at least one participant who will remind everyone to see a professional and treat the crowd wisdom with caution. Perhaps the same could be said of law too, and there may be others (so please chime in).

    One of the reasons I am creating this thread, apart from it being of general interest to me, is that I am facing a particular moral problem that doesn't seem to have an actual right or wrong answer, nor specific persons with whom I could discuss it (again open to suggestions on this bit). Anyway, I am at the point of wondering if it would be a worthwhile idea for me to outline the problem and put it out there so as to receive the wisdom of crowds.

    What do people think of this?

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Proceed with caution, my friend. This place is not always friendly or supportive. There are many topics that I would never discuss here, despite the fact that I am a regular.

    Sent from my moto g power using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    TS and I actually agree.
    After all your time on this forum I think that you can recognize the names of the people whose opinions you respect. You can reach out directly to those people with your question and be pretty confident you will get a sincere response.


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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post
    TS and I actually agree.
    After all your time on this forum I think that you can recognize the names of the people whose opinions you respect. You can reach out directly to those people with your question and be pretty confident you will get a sincere response.

    Wise advice. I concur.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Yep. Asking that kind of question to the entire forum would probably start a flame war.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by Stands on Feet View Post
    Yep. Asking that kind of question to the entire forum would probably start a flame war.
    Or worse, result in insults or ridicule.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    The more important and personal the issue, the smaller the circle of friends, family, and colleagues I consult.
    "When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick;
    and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."

    ~ Benjamin Franklin

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    I can't provide any advice that improves upon the above. But I will address your other point. My thirty-odd years on the internet have taught me much less than was promised, but one thing it has convinced me is that the notion of "the wisdom of the crowd" is absolute bullshit.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Fair enough, and thanks for the advice (those who posted). You are no doubt correct.

    The situation I find myself in lends itself to moral ambiguity. I can easily understand and appreciate both sides of this ambiguity. However, I obviously have a preference for one course of action over another, and there doesn't seem to be a middle path that partly satisfies both sides. On top of that, whichever stance I take is going to bad feeling somewhere. That I can accept of course, it's part of life generally. My concern is that I am overlooking some simple piece of logic that would resolve the issue.

    So, outside of crowdsourcing information, who would be the best kind of person to discuss this with? [the situation is unique in my experience, but perhaps not in the experiences of others]

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    So, outside of crowdsourcing information, who would be the best kind of person to discuss this with? [the situation is unique in my experience, but perhaps not in the experiences of others]
    Two approaches to consider. The specialised, determined by the domain. Interpersonal issue: therapist. Moral dilemna: philosopher. That sort of thing.

    My experience is that we often know, for some level of "know", what the right answer/course of action is. We just need an opportunity to sense check it with someone, hear ourselves articulate and justify it. Not be be affirmed, necessarily, because sometimes hearing counter arguments can strengthen the conviction. In that case, you just pick someone you either trust, or respect for their wisdom.

    Bonus third approach! Adopt the zen/taoist/advaitan approach and acknowledge that it will happen anyway: like rain falling, and all you have to do is enjoy the feeling of it hitting your face.
    Vintage. Cursive italic. Iron gall.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Fair enough, and thanks for the advice (those who posted). You are no doubt correct.

    The situation I find myself in lends itself to moral ambiguity. I can easily understand and appreciate both sides of this ambiguity. However, I obviously have a preference for one course of action over another, and there doesn't seem to be a middle path that partly satisfies both sides. On top of that, whichever stance I take is going to bad feeling somewhere. That I can accept of course, it's part of life generally. My concern is that I am overlooking some simple piece of logic that would resolve the issue.

    So, outside of crowdsourcing information, who would be the best kind of person to discuss this with? [the situation is unique in my experience, but perhaps not in the experiences of others]
    A moral ambiguity is usually one of two things. The first is to act or not to act, and the second is what course of action one should take.

    The former poses other questions:
    a, is it one's place to act,
    b, is justice served. c, In what capacity (friend, advocate, protector, etc.),
    d, does not acting allow or worsen the matter, and others.

    The latter is equally difficult to define.

    As for who is the best person to offer advice, the obvious answer is someone who is not even remotely involved, and can remain impartial. Someone who has counselling experience would be my suggestion. That might be a member of the clergy, a psychologist, social worker, or a medical professional.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    The majority of moral dilemmas are such because they fall into the two larger categories of ethical theories - Kant's Categorical Imperative and Utilitarianism's Greatest Happiness Principle

    Academically, a common hypothetical is: Is it ethical for a person to steal food to prevent their child from starving?

    Kant would say no, and ethical imperatives must be universal. Stealing is always right or wrong, and not situationally dependent; even if (in the case of the hypothetical) the consequences would lead to a child's death. The problems with that are readily apparent.

    Utilitarians might say "yes", and that the happiness of the child and parents would outweigh the reduced happiness of the person who was stolen from. Problems with that are also apparent, namely that it is impossible to objectively weight each party's "happiness".

    The Golden Rule can be applied in a Kantian or Utilitarian manner, and is of little help. It uses empathy as a guide for ethical decision making, and we can empathize with either party's plight. Additional hypotheticals can be added to strengthen either argument, but it becomes a more convoluted series of "what if's" being introduced.

    I will share a personal example. Many years ago, I discovered a close friend's spouse had been unfaithful. The couple in question had a new child. Should I tell the friend, as I would want to be told? Kant and the Golden Rule seemed to indicate that I should. Utilitarianism tended to lead to "no".

    I won't reveal my decision, but I think the most important issue (or problem) is our own sense of conflicting responsibilities and the emotional repercussions we experience from a decision (or lack of) which gets to An old bloke's point of even choosing to act or not - which becomes its own dilemma.

    Sometimes it is simply a matter of determining what we can live with. What we perceive our moral obligations to be, and what our conscience will allow or forbid. There will be critics of any decision - and we can indeed be our own worst critics due to conscience.

    I still have difficulty with my decision, when it comes to mind; but less than I would had I chosen the alternative course.
    Last edited by dneal; October 28th, 2021 at 06:54 AM. Reason: typo
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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Dneal thanks for teaching me something new

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    I will share a personal example. Many years ago, I discovered a close friend's spouse had been unfaithful. The couple in question had a new child. Should I tell the friend, as I would want to be told? Kant and the Golden Rule seemed to indicate that I should. Utilitarianism tended to lead to "no".

    I won't reveal my decision, but I think the most important issue (or problem) is our own sense of conflicting responsibilities and the emotional repercussions we experience from a decision (or lack of) which gets to An old bloke's point of even choosing to act or not - which becomes its own dilemma.
    I went through this once (minus the newborn.) Torture.
    I opted to speak up.
    turns out, spouse knew already.

    lesson learned: don't take on psychological torture on behalf of others, it's impossible to know all the circumstances.

    I've come across the cheating spouse problem since and I'm very comfortable minding my own freaking business.

    Why anyone would construct that particular personal hell for him/herself I doubt I'll ever understand, which is why I just stay far away from discussing it, let alone dropping a bomb into a family (or just appearing country-mouse naive.)

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    @manoeuver - Perhaps you speculated on what I chose to do (or not do), as you have speculated that the "new child" I mentioned was a newborn (it wasn't).

    I was using a personal example to emphasize that these sorts of dilemmas are much more wicked problems than the academic, and not to introduce discussion on what one should or should not do in a particular set of circumstances. EoC and I have certainly had our verbal tussles over the years, but I still have no animosity toward him and only sought to offer sympathy and understanding.

    This forum (like most) has a penchant for declaring what is right and wrong in absolute terms, and I agree with the previous posters that this is certainly not the place to ask such a question.

    --edit--

    I suspect it will be futile, but I would ask that others refrain from continuing a debate based on my example. It serves no purpose other than to turn yet another thread toxic. I am not asserting that was the intent, only what the result could easily be.
    Last edited by dneal; October 28th, 2021 at 11:06 AM.
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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    @dneal, your post touching on ethical theories is actually quite thought-provoking. I don't have a philosophy background so some of the ideas and terms are not that familiar.

    In my particular conundrum, I am undecided on whether my relationship to a person predisposes me to have a moral obligation to render assistance for an impending poor life choice where the outcome of that choice is clear and known in advance, i.e. that they refuse to make a better-informed choice despite having all relevant information and resources to hand.

    Right now I am of the opinion that given the other person has had every assistance to make a good decision, if they steadfastly decide on a suboptimal course of action then I shouldn't feel obligated to intervene. However, that runs contrary to my sense of general compassion whereby I don't really want to see anyone suffer needlessly, irrespective of their relationship (if any) to me.

    I appreciate that there probably isn't a simple correct answer to this, and that whatever choice I make will involve some regret.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    @EoC - Various dependency/recovery type situations come to mind, because the consequences are often severe. Alcohol and drugs, overeating, gambling addictions etc... The principle at issue is not necessarily one of addiction, but of one making poor or detrimental life choices, regardless of what those choices are. Hoarding, habitual lying, poor hygiene, etc... might not be "addictions" per se, but I think you can see how the "life choices" principle applies. The range of "poor choices" parents think their adolescent or adult children make, are many.

    At the end of the day, most of those programs/environments assert that one cannot be responsible for the choices (good or bad) of another. I think those are simply hard truths. We can love and have compassion for people despite their choices, and we can ask for change; but we can't be responsible if they refuse. We also don't have to be approving or accepting of their life choices.

    There are exceptions, of course; but if the situation is that dire or exigent then a call to emergency or social services might be warranted.

    Lastly, remember that self-compassion is no less important than compassion for others.

    --edit--

    When you have been responsible for several hundred subordinates (and their families, to a certain extent); you have experienced a gamut of human nature. 19 year old privates and 40 year old senior non-commissioned officers, and their families, present an assortment of challenges. Some of which I had authority to act on, some of which I had resources to leverage, and some of which I could do nothing about. If you would like to message me and have a more personal discussion, feel free.
    Last edited by dneal; October 28th, 2021 at 03:10 PM.
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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Note items 41 and 43 in this list, perhaps others.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    @EoC - Various dependency/recovery type situations come to mind, because the consequences are often severe. Alcohol and drugs, overeating, gambling addictions etc... The principle at issue is not necessarily one of addiction, but of one making poor or detrimental life choices, regardless of what those choices are. Hoarding, habitual lying, poor hygiene, etc... might not be "addictions" per se, but I think you can see how the "life choices" principle applies. The range of "poor choices" parents think their adolescent or adult children make, are many.

    At the end of the day, most of those programs/environments assert that one cannot be responsible for the choices (good or bad) of another. I think those are simply hard truths. We can love and have compassion for people despite their choices, and we can ask for change; but we can't be responsible if they refuse. We also don't have to be approving or accepting of their life choices.

    There are exceptions, of course; but if the situation is that dire or exigent then a call to emergency or social services might be warranted.

    Lastly, remember that self-compassion is no less important than compassion for others.

    That kind of describes my decision in the matter - that I am not responsible for the choices of the other party under these circumstances. I'm going to get slammed for this I suspect, and there is pressure from other quarters to change my mind.

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    Default Re: Crowdsourcing

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    @EoC - Various dependency/recovery type situations come to mind, because the consequences are often severe. Alcohol and drugs, overeating, gambling addictions etc... The principle at issue is not necessarily one of addiction, but of one making poor or detrimental life choices, regardless of what those choices are. Hoarding, habitual lying, poor hygiene, etc... might not be "addictions" per se, but I think you can see how the "life choices" principle applies. The range of "poor choices" parents think their adolescent or adult children make, are many.

    At the end of the day, most of those programs/environments assert that one cannot be responsible for the choices (good or bad) of another. I think those are simply hard truths. We can love and have compassion for people despite their choices, and we can ask for change; but we can't be responsible if they refuse. We also don't have to be approving or accepting of their life choices.

    There are exceptions, of course; but if the situation is that dire or exigent then a call to emergency or social services might be warranted.

    Lastly, remember that self-compassion is no less important than compassion for others.

    That kind of describes my decision in the matter - that I am not responsible for the choices of the other party under these circumstances. I'm going to get slammed for this I suspect, and there is pressure from other quarters to change my mind.
    You are not responsible.

    To think that we are and that we can rescue someone from the choices he or she chooses is an exercise of futility. It's called 'White Knight Syndrome', and is potentially self-destructive.

    There is a time in cases such as this when we have to accept the inevitable no matter how painful it may be, and figuratively walk away from the situation.

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