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Old February 25th, 2006, 02:13 AM   #1
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Don't Ask, "Which is Better" - ask A Real Question

When I made the decision to go fully digital in my commercial business I also decided to take up most of my information gathering from a "digital perspective" - web forums, just like this one.

I used to be part of a forum (not mentioned) dedicated to DSLR's and all it's related technology. Often the "which is better" question would get asked and every-time, guaranteed, it would end up in a mass pile of opinions, trash talk, pissing contests and ego strokes. That's not information exchange, that's childish behavior, and it's one of the main reasons why most seasoned pros don't share the wealth of knowledge they possess on web-forums.

Instead of asking "which is better" about anything, ask a specific question based on capability, compatibility or availability.

For example:

"Can a PowerBook capture footage directly from an HVX?". The answer of course is, "yes". However, what if the answer were, "no"? If you know why not then explain why - but do it based on YOUR experience, not what you've read elsewhere or your "best guess".

The whole point of forums like this is to exchange usable information. Let me say that again, "Usable" information.

Many if not most of the members of this forum don't have deep pockets, they don't have unlimited time for testing and they don't have years of pro-level experience under their belts. They do however, have a real need to gather accurate, timely information about products, troubleshooting issues and new methods of doing things that others have already attempted and either failed or succeeded at.

If you want to know how to do something, ask us.

If you've got a problem or bug that you can't figure out, we're here to help.

If you're not sure about whether or not Product "X" will play well with Product "Z", see if anyone else has tried it.

But if you ask something as generic as "which is better?" about anything, you might as well toss a coin in the air, because that's in effect all you're doing.

If you know the answer to a question, answer it from your own knowledge. Don't guess. Don't pontificate about specs you've only read on paper and never put to use. Speak from experience or don't speak at all.

As I mentioned earlier, most forum members don't have the luxury of time and or money to burn, and bad advice - especially coming from a source that has no experience with the area of expertise that's being addressed - could potentially cause someone else to spend money in the wrong places.

Chris started a forum with a single mission: Share the wealth of experienced knowledge. Keep the pissing contests in the latrine and keep the trash talk in the gutter.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 03:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
But if you ask something as generic as "which is better?" about anything, you might as well toss a coin in the air, because that's in effect all you're doing.
Especially because the only honest answer to "which is better" can only ever be: "it depends."

For example, "which is better, a fork or a spoon?" Both are utensils, and if you're eating rice they could probably both be made to do the job, but beyond that each is uniquely suited to some circumstances a lot better than the other one is.

Or, "which is better: a pickup truck or a motorcycle"? They're both vehicles, and both can get you to work and to the library. Beyond that, IT DEPENDS on your situation. Do you live in California? You can white-line on the motorcycle, and (I think you can) use the carpool lane, so the motorcycle way wins. But if you need to haul a sheet of plywood...

See? The only answer is "it depends." Undoubtedly one of these cameras is better FOR YOU than the others, so you have to spell out your circumstances before valuable and useful feedback can be given!

Quote:
Keep the pissing contests in the latrine and keep the trash talk in the gutter.
Your entire post is well-thought out and contains good advice. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:47 AM   #3
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I totally agree. When I made my first post on this forum, it was after close to perhaps 2 years of reading. It was only until after thoroughly reading and researching that I posted a question, because it hadn't been addressed yet. And it was a very specific question.

In the beginning life of a new product, technology, or concept, there will be a lot of random repeat topics and such. But many topics on the HVX200 here have already been discussed to the point of being a powerful source of information.

So the question of which is better, usually spells out to me that someone is being extremely lazy in their research, and totally underutilizing this forum.

I also see the response, "Well there's just too much to read!" So then they want their own personal consultation from scratch. Eeeack.

I'm sure it'll happen over and over till the end of time, but the more people see DVinfo as a powerful, searchable, information storage medium, as well as a living responding community, the better the overall quality can increase.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Or, "which is better: a pickup truck or a motorcycle"? They're both vehicles, and both can get you to work and to the library. Beyond that, IT DEPENDS on your situation. Do you live in California? You can white-line on the motorcycle, and (I think you can) use the carpool lane, so the motorcycle way wins. But if you need to haul a sheet of plywood...
The answer to the pickup and the motorcycle question is very easily answered. You get BOTH, and then you can haul your motorcycle in the truck! As far as why you can "white-line" in California, and not most other states, it is because Cal has no law against two vehicles occupying the same lane. Of course if they really wanted to end the practice, they could cite them for improper lane changes, and failure to signal! :)

Great posts guys, and I fully agree with the premise.


Mike
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:28 PM   #5
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Robert, not sure if something in particular in the HVX forum prompted it, but great post. It really applies to every forum, every thread, every post on DVinfo!

After all, "better" is a value judgment...subjective. When people make sweeping generalizations like that, it is putting their ego on the line to butt heads with other egos attached to opposite opinions. And, and then we moderators end up spending our time extinguishing pointless flame wars -- which around here always end up on the ash heap of history anyway. Being as objective and specific as one is capable of being is far "better" use of one's time. ;-)
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #6
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Good point...
But which is better...
Robert's post or Barry's reply?

Most things aren't better than others... just different.
What is better, a claw hammer or a ball peen hammer?
They are both hammers... one MUST be better than the other... right?
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:49 PM   #7
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Ball peen hammer is better, because it looks funnier in print. Almost vulgar, really.
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