The Agilist Network

Tales and Tips from Agile Software Projects

Facts vs. Opinions and Cred Factor

Posted by kenhoward on September 17, 2008

Throughout the U.S. we’re in the midst of opinion season. It’s time for politicians to gaze into their crystal balls and paint a picture of the future state of the country as they’d like us to believe they can create. Since facts are always about the past, any projection of the future is an opinion, a conjecture, an educated guess, etc. Sometimes blogs are used to convey facts; more often they are used to express opinions. So why should you care what a blogger thinks? Every day we feed our brains with the many facts and opinions we encounter. First things first, separating fact from opinion is not always as cut and dry as you may think. Test your ability to discern facts from opinions here.

When it comes to opinions, we each have our own built-in credibility filter. Many parents followed Dr. Spock’s parenting advice. Years later, Dr. Spock’s family suffered the tragedy of the loss of his child to suicide. Does that erase his credibility? In a non-gray world some choose to believe that either his advice is credible or it’s not. True or not, some believe that Dale Carnegie committed suicide – does that make his best seller “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” a crock? Both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton lied to us all on TV – did that completely erase their ability to get people to subscribe to their opinions?

Thoughts like these cross my mind as I blog. I try to be careful not to blabber opinions without consideration of fact-based examples. My blog has had a lot of hits worldwide lately, and I’ve discovered that factual entries get much more traffic than those that are predominantly opinions. I’ll bear that in mind as I blog on. (By the way, due to the high number of hits, I am now the #2 spot on google when you search for “Fast Vista”. My home FTP/NAS Server setup instructions are also very popular. In the future I plan to stick to fact or fact-based as much as possible.)

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