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I know that many people get excited over the news that comes out every day – whether it is the Georgia run off, the MN recount, Obama’s appointments, what Bush or Rove or some other republican jackass said, or other tidbits (like the recent Cheney indictment, for example).  And I hate to be a stick in the mud here, but since I have been around here long enough and I have written hundreds of diaries and I have made a point to provide numerous links and analysis in many of them and facts/accuracy in what I (we) write is of utmost importance to me, I figured that it is time to speak out.

There are close to, if not more than 200,000 registered users, and many have come here over the past year.  So, for starters, welcome.

One thing that we have always prided ourselves on is the whole "reality based community" thing – where we can back up our assertions with facts that are, well, facts.  We all may be entitled to our interpretation of the facts, or our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts.

I’ve seen way too many diaries (and not just today or the other day) on the rec list that are (1) inaccurate, (2) have misleading titles or (3) are refuting some other inaccurate diary that was or is on the rec list.  And I gotta say, it is pretty ugly.  Hell, I have been accused of it myself and even had a diary make the rec list that called out my own rec list diary on a particular issue (although I defended it, as did many other people).

It is great that people like seeing themselves on the rec list – I get a kick out of the "UPDATE: this is my first trip to the rec list - thanks so much for putting me on there" comments that I see at the bottom of so many posts lately.  But with that comes a lot of diaries that may not be fully accurate, may even be misleading – and while this is rarely done on purpose, it saps the credibility of the community and, in some instances, the diarist.  

Please please please be mindful of what you are writing about.  If it is a topic that you don’t know much about and you still want to write about it, then take extra care in seeing who you are sourcing and what you are sourcing.  If you are making conclusions, then make sure you can back them up with facts.  If you get pushback, so be it – it is a way to grow as a writer and I know that I have learned so much more from the comment section of my diaries than many of the posts themselves.  There are experts in this community in virtually every area.  Some will tell you that you are full of shit.  And they may very well be right (of course, they may not be experts or they may be misreading as well).

The point is that we need to remain true to facts and reality when writing, sourcing and making conclusions.  Because seeing your name on the rec list is nice, but what is the point when half of the comments are correcting you, or there is another diary that is correcting your errors?

Originally posted to clammyc on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 09:45 AM PST.

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