Monday, October 10, 2011

If you want to dispute something I've written...

...All facts begin as dreams dreamt by a wizard! 
Mr. Show, "The Limits of Science"

If you have information that contradicts something I've written or think I'm wrong, please be nice about it. A big part of why people won't admit they're wrong is the fear of attack, the fear of looking stupid, the fear of losing esteem, and why put someone on the defensive when there's no need? Why do we have to attack someone personally, calling someone names, insulting their intelligence, education or character? I encourage you to share your thoughts in a friendly, supportive way! After all, this blog is all about learning and sharing what we've learned, and the last thing I want to do is share something that leads you down the wrong path!

You can see some great examples of readers sharing information that contradicts what I've written in this post. Observe the way these wonderful readers correct me - in a very supportive, mature way. And notice that I've updated what I've written to include their suggestions. This is a great example of how to approach someone when you want to share contradictory information (otherwise known as telling them they're wrong!) 

If you find a something that bothers you, write to me or make a comment. Just remember that although I'm always open to new ideas, new studies, new concepts, and new stuff in general, I do need to see some evidence. If it's your opinion, tell me that. (Your opinion on recipes I've written, ingredients you've used, practices you want to share, things you like to see, or anything else is absolutely vital!) If you heard it from a supplier or someone in the know, share it with me. I always prefer to see some evidence when it comes to ingredients, processes, or concepts, so send me a link or the proper book or paper title, rather than asking me to look it up again.

If you're sending me information, please note that I require a reputable source. EWG and Skin Deep are not reputable sources. If what they are saying is true, there will be another study out there to support what they say. If what they're saying is skewed in some way, we'll find it hard to find another source that doesn't refer back to them. (Here's a post in which I address my thoughts on these sources.) I recognize this must sound harsh, but I think I have good reason to ask for another source. 

Here are some of my thoughts on how to research ingredients and ideas, including my favourite textbooks and websites! 

You don't have to agree with everything I write - in fact, I prefer it if you don't because what a boring world that would be! - but you don't have to be mean about it!

As an aside, it's always nice to see a name on a comment, rather than Anonymous. For some reason, there's something weird about seeing that. You don't need a Blogger or other account, just put your name at the end of it (for instance: Written by Susan or Bye for now, Susan!) or something else so I can get to know you! 

Join me tomorrow for a really great example of a comment that made me think, research, and re-think something really important! 


Tara said...

I hate to think about someone being mean to you Susan. Your blog is so enjoyable to me and I've learned so much from it! You're right - there is a nice way to give a differing opinion, and you've always been very gracious to others' opinions. That's one of the great things about your blog!

Your Loyal Fan :)

Lise M Andersen said...

A word comes to mind: graceful. You are graceful, Susan! Anyone who can't see or appreciate the wealth of knowledge you are so freely sharing is a dufus-brain and should be slapped with wet newspapers.

sfs said...

I agree with Tara and Lise. This blog and your outstanding research has been a great service to all of us!
Thank you,

Nancy Liedel said...

I am often wrong and am terrified to admit it. Why? I get attacked and I cry, while the attacker holds up the head of what was wrong and yelps a victory cry. That's just the 14 year old. Seriously, admitting I'm wrong, or trying to work with someone who thinks I'm an idiot based on one post, or statement that was wrong, even if I've corrected the statement and cited them, is hard. I do it readily enough, but some people dance on the death of your idiot statement with an almost inhuman glee they'd never use if they were face to face with me. At least I hope not.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You're all so lovely - thank you (I'm blushing now).

There's a great book called Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) all about how we seek to justify our mistakes and why we feel we can't be will change your life! It really does make you realize how much effort it is to not admit mistakes, so it's just easier to admit them and move on with your life!

When I was a social worker, very new on the job, I went into my supervisor's office and told him that I thought I'd screwed up an interview and felt I should contact the family again. He was quite shocked - I could have hidden this, closed the file, walked away, but I couldn't have that on my conscience. He said he changed his mind about me that day - he really didn't like me for some reason - and gave me glowing reviews on my performance evaluations after that. I didn't think I'd done anything could I sleep at night if a child was at risk for harm and I chose to cover my own bum instead of helping the child? But this incident was a very good experience for me because it showed I could admit to a mistake and not be fired or dressed down or even mocked for it.

It hurts when someone uses a past mistake against us, but I try to remember that anyone who can be that way is doomed never to grow or learn because they're too busy worrying about those mistakes they've made! Teenagers are the worst for it! I had one girl in my group who rejoiced when I forgot something or when I fell down during a dance group, and I finally asked her if she'd like me to make public every mistake she'd made in the class. She said sure, so I brought up a few things (pretty innocuous stuff, but important to a teenager!) and I could see she finally understood how it made others feel...for a moment...then she started up on someone else. I had to ask her to leave because my groups are about being safe, and she was making it unsafe for everyone.

That's what I'm trying to offer here - a place we can learn from others and share with others, and making mistakes is part of that process.

I could go on and on about this because this is one of my pet causes - creating safe spaces for learning and playing - but I best get back to studying my math!

Anonymous said...

Dear Susan,

I love your blog - you, and only you, have managed to help me understand chemistry for the first time in my life! I simply assumed chemistry wouldn't 'fit into my brain.'
(Although... my chemistry teacher refused to teach me after I had to take 2 months off school due to a severe viral infection - she said if I had wanted to learn I would have been in class! And the school failed to notice I had dyscalculia, which really didn't help matters.)

But, in the 3 weeks since I discovered your blog, I can now understand things I couldn't even grasp a month ago - you're the best chemistry teacher I've ever had!

However, I think you might be wrong in your suggestion that cocoa butter could sustain us when the zombies finally attack in their quest for global domination. As lovely and yummy as it is, I think it lacks the essential nutrients we'll need to survive the zombie-led apocalypse.

With thanks, and wishing you all the best,