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Avoiding flash-points

Article about: I agree that on forums like this with members from all over the globe sometimes responses can come off as rude or curt, and sometimes things get lost or sound that way in translation. I wish

  1. #1

    Default Avoiding flash-points

    I gave a lot of thought to this topic before I posted it, because some people might take it as being unduly critical, but It's not. This is just a viewpoint based of observations made as I wander around the Forum. I will start by saying that the overwhelming number of discussions are extremely civil and the level of expertise exhibited is exceptional. And I find Forum members to be very generous in offering help. I am very comfortable being a member of this Forum. The points I make below are very rarely seen on the Forum, but they do occur and when they do, the exchange stops being fun, and is certainly not informative.

    That said, I do occasionally see instances in which the discussion very quickly approaches the flash-point, mostly when an artifact posted is determined, or considered, to be a fake. In those few cases, I see the opinion-givers making the following--may I say, mistakes? The most serious mistake I see is the dismissal of an artifact without adequate explanation.

    Some apparently assume their expertise is self evident and dismiss the artifact as "rubbish" or use a similar one-word dismissal. In nearly every case where this occurs, the artifact under review is junk, but dismissing it with a single word or a phrases like "Sorry Jack, it's a fake" is irritating to the poster because it explains nothing. My suggestion is that whenever you offer an opinion as to authenticity, you should do so with a complete explanation as to why you feel the way you do. It really doesn't take very many words.

    Some time ago I read a post in which the detractor defended his position on the grounds that he had "read a lot of books on the subject." I'm sure he had and I'm sure he knew what he was talking about. But it would have been much better had he cited his sources or offered a detailed explanation, rather than simply stating that the item was a fake. This is especially true when you take the position that an artifact is not authentic on the basis that some characteristic that is "always present in such and such a case" is absent. I don't know about the rest of you, but my experience with mass-production and military uniformity is that absolute standardization is a myth.

    Explaining your reasons for stating that an artifact is not authentic is simply good manners and enhances your image as one who is knowledgeable. Especially when we consider the reality of the medium in which these artifacts under study are displayed. None of us can actually touch, heft, or hold the artifact in question. The nature of digital imagery prevents us from actually seeing small detail that would be visible if seen in real light. And the quality of the photography is often less than needed for proper examination.
    The point is that, right or wrong, by providing a detailed, supported opinion about an artifact, you lessen the potential for a clash of interests and personalities.

    Having said that, I will now hunker down and take the beating about the head and shoulders for not citing specific instances. I did not cite specific instances because I see no reason to stir the pot any more than I already have. Besides, I have high regard for many of you, and recognize that behavioral aberrations do occur. Except in my case, because I have read a lot of books on how to avoid that. Dwight

  2. #2

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    Thorough explanations are always the best way to go, so generally speaking, I must agree with you Dwight. However, some of the shorter replies, which at times can be misunderstood as somewhat curt, can stem from very busy lifestyles. Also, our great team of moderators, who not only maintain the juggling act that is life, but attempt to assist as many folk as possible here on the forum, may at times spread themselves a little thinly with comments. This is understandable with so many requests coming in. When people do write these very short replies, words should be chosen carefully, for an online forum is the place for discussion, not degradation.


    Currently working on several KZ related projects, including items for the USHMM, Gro-Rosen Museum and various private concerns and studies. Available as a guide to KZ sites, contact for details.

    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wypeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    The written word is at times "ungrateful". Intonations can not be expressed, etc. So a short statements on a given item can of course be taken as a "rude" comment even it was not meant that way. An explanation on why one states this or that is a fake or not period, can of course take the edge of things. Much agreed. Especially in some of the reference threads there can be an absence of explanations.

    Regards, Lars

  4. #4

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    I fully agree with you Dwight.
    I try to either explain why I think an item is a reproduction or post a known example for reference and have the original poster do a little work on their own.
    As some certainly should put a little research into the items that they are spending hard earned cash on. They should not rely solely on the opinions of a few members posting their opinions. I sometimes post items for reassurance that I am correct in my thoughts as to authenticity or manufacturer. When posting items for the opinions of others, I try to show as clear of photos as possible, it only makes it easier for others to form an opinion and therefore, state if they think I am correct or not.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    Tiger88 and Datrus, I understand exactly what you are saying and i ceertainly agree, especialy with these two comments, "When people do write these very short replies, words should be chosen carefully, for an online forum is the place for discussion, not degradation" (Tiger88) and "The written word is at times "ungrateful". Intonations can not be expressed, etc. So a short statements on a given item can of course be taken as a "rude" comment even it was not meant that way." (Datrus). In most cases, in fact in the overwhelming number of cases, the applicant with the question is asking someone whom he accepts as an authority on the subject to assess his artifact. The authority says, "Sorry, but it's a fake." There is nothing at all wrong with that scenario. Where I see the problem are those instances--few in number-- in which a new or relatively new collector posts a question about the authenticity of an artifact and receives a terse answer with no explanation as to what makes his treasure a fake. If for any number of reasons the new collector genuinely believes the item is genuine--it was given to him by the daughter of a vet who found it under a rock in Russia--the new collector is immediately angry because his treasure is being declared as worthless without explanation as to what makes it worthless. As I said in my original post, I really haven't seen much of that sort of thing happening, but I have seen it. And it bothers me every time because feelings as well as pride are unnecessarily hurt. In those case the exchange quickly becomes confrontive. I saw that happen today in slightly different circumstance. It was one of those situations where both sides had credibility. Thanks for your views. Dwight

  6. #6

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    rbminis: You are so right, my friend, that the original poster should do a little work on his own. When you wrote, "I try to either explain why I think an item is a reproduction or post a known example for reference and have the original poster do a little work on their own," I thought right on! Thanks for your views. Dwight

  7. #7

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    Most of the time I try to give a thorough explanation of my opinion, but in a few instances I do not. I usually will not explain my opinion when a poster posts an item that is blatantly, downright laughably, fake. For example, something like this: Replica.jpg In these cases I will just post "bad" or "terrible fake" or "obvious reproduction". I think single word replies are okay in this case. However, with items that are somewhat deceiving, it is very important for members to explain themselves. Not only for the original poster, but to help other members who may come across the thread in the future.


  8. #8

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    Ok, that's Crap.........!


  9. #9

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    Corey: I know little or nothing about German helmets. But even I would think the photo above is some sort of fake. But, I wonder if the person who posted that helmet knew or thought that too? It's obvious to you, but it might not be obvious to the guy asking for an opinion. I can certainly understand your feelings about seeing something that is obviously a fake, we have probably all been in that situation, but I really feel that some explanation beyond ""bad" or "terrible fake" or "obvious reproduction" is warranted. My question as an observer, would be, "Why is it a fake?" I wander through the Forum looking for interesting posts, especially those where the poster has an "I need help" statement with his post title. I look because possibly I can help, but mostly I look because I hope I will learn something from the exchange, and I often do learn something because the person who provides the answer gives sound reasons for his opinion. I have learned a lot on this Forum by just reading the posts. I was a history professor and when I was in grad school, my professors hammered on the idea that some of us are teachers but we all are students. I see this Forum as a mirror image of that. Those of you who are truley knowledgeable are the professors and those who come to you for knowledge are the students. I don't think any of you should carry the supplicants, but I do believe you should direct them. As rbminis implied in his post, answer the basic question, but direct them to do their own research. That's the only way they will learn. Thanks for providing your view, which I both appreciate and understand. Dwight

  10. #10

    Default Re: Avoiding flash-points

    There is my friend walkwolf, direct and to the point. Nice to see you here, your wit is always appreciated, and I mean that sincerely. Dwight.

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