How to deal with tons of information an misinformation

Reef and Dive

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I stated this arguments on a separate discussion, but I believe it could be useful to post it as a separate thread.

For newcomers it may be pretty difficult to understand the best information provided. My honest suggestion for every piece of information is:

1 - check tha background of who provided that info. Does that person have solid formation on that subject? Is he an old member that have discussed and researched this over and over? Members such as @Randy Holmes-Farley, @Dana Riddle, @taricha, @Lasse, @Paul B, @Humblefish, @Jay Hemdal and the whole #fishmedic amazing team (not in any particular order among soooo many that I’m surely missing) bring with them such an oustanding amount of background study and expertise that every opinion should be highly considered;

2 - Don’t know that person? Is he a gifted reefer together with getting good information? Many users have a personal reef tank thread and checking what have been managed by the person also could help understanding the weight of that opinion;

3 - Is that information repeated over many experiences? Or is it disrupting against everything others believe? Remember Carl Segan: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

4 - Don’t be the first neither the last to test things;

5 - Consider “I have done this for X years without problems” very different from “what is advisable to be done by expert reefers”

6 - Don’t ever search forever until finding the answer you wish so you are satisfied, you could end satisfied with completely wrong information;

7 - Arguing and discussing is never wrong (of course we do that very politely and respectfully) and it always makes us grow; subjects with a lot of discussion are usually the ones we know better;

8 - Good information can change; Experts can change that opinion; there is nothing wrong about that;

And after all this, I usually always classify mentally every piece of information a little bit as follows:

A - objective information supported by academical science and articles (few things such as temperature stress for corals, fish diseases that have been studied over and over);

B - objective information not supported by academical science, but explained by science with strong collective hobby knowledge (eg 2 part dosing, this is a hobby knowledge that actually very often “help scientists” to keep the same animals to study);

C - science based information that we hobbists do not accept very well (eg influence of N : P ratios on different species, yes @Randy Holmes-Farley I know you hate the idea and I do not claim it is perfect, but I do consider it useful);

D - classification information that creates a conflict, useful to be updated, but not harmful not to be (most Euphyllia are now Fimbriaphyllia; acoels are not flatworms etc);

E - information that have been collected by a ton of repeated cases that do not have science explanation but with strong and repeated hobby experiences (eg fluconazole for bryopsis and other algae, different nutrient control methods, aggregated info in dinoflagellate management).

Until now, those are all very useful sources of information…

There are less useful information that are pretty hard for the newcomer to process and may be harmful:

F - simple anecdotal information (“I did this and it worked” does not mean it will work for everyone, but the info could eventually become useful and be upgraded to E);

G - anecdotal information that goes against science and against strong hobby knowledge (eg - this will bring me a headache but ok - “I never QT my fish”, this is an accepted risk by the reefer, but not something that should be taught for newcomers; another one “I use sink water and it works great”);

H - anecdotal information provided by someone in the peak of the Dunning-Kruger line (eg “I just know it works take my word”, some people might be actually believing they are providing good advice, but regardless of good intentions it is the human nature to have this “I know everything” moment; unfortunately this type of info is very misleading for newcomers)

I - wrong information (eg Cryptocaryon appears by itself if temperature lowers too much - this type of info is just totally wrong scientifically and by hobby aggregated evidence, and is only deleterious to be spread)

That’s my personal view only intended to help everyone have a mature view on the amazing amount of information provided in this outstandig forum.
 
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HankstankXXL750

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I stated this arguments on a separate discussion, but I believe it could be useful to post it as a separate thread.

For newcomers it may be pretty difficult to understand the best information provided. My honest suggestion for every piece of information is:

G - anecdotal information that goes against science and against strong hobby knowledge (eg - this will bring me a headache but ok - “I never QT my fish”, this is an accepted risk by the reefer, but not something that should be taught for newcomers; another one “I use sink water and it works great”);


Yes this is so true.

I find people saying they use tap water and recommending it to others to be truly harming. Maybe you have clean water, (doubtful) but for the majority of people there are way too many pollutants, nitrates, and or chlorine in their water. Good for the goose probably not good for the gander.

As far as QT’ing, anyone who says that it is an acceptable risk to temp and plop fish into a display tank are setting themselves and the people they are advising up for a nearly inevitable disaster. I have made a calculated risk when I over bought on a trip and didn’t have enough QT space available. Didn’t turn out well.

It only takes one total wipeout to make a firm believer out of someone. Unfortunately that same one time experience can be so costly that the person bails on the hobby.

Anyone who recommends not QT’ing should make a very strong disclaimer.

Thanks for the post.
 

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