Are Members Being Objective Enough When Discussing Products?

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by walking paradox, Jul 2, 2007.

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  1. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    Admin note: Thread created from multiple posts split out from original thread - Snap

    As noted by Snap, this thread started as my response to the thread created by trjam. I had been considering this problem for some time now, and it just so happened that he made a thread wherein he expressed his partiality towards a particular product and encouraged others to use it, which as reiterated below, essentially amounts to an endorsement of that product. That, followed by the post by lucas questioning the purpose of the thread, to which trjam responded 'the same as all of them', provided me the (incidental) spark and opportunity to make the point exhibited throughout this thread.

    To preface this, let me clarify that this is not directed at the threadstarter, but at everyone. I'm just using this thread as an example.
    It would seem to be a plug for AVGAS, as in publically and directly endorsing the product. At first glance, it would seem this potentially violates the Terms Of Service because it, on a basic level, amounts to an advertisment or solicitation, though in this case I think such intent was lacking. However, if we expand beyond this thread, an interesting dillemma arises and a valuable lesson can be learned. Namely, that while the original post is obviously a plug for a product, there are many others that are essentially no different, but don't appear that way because they are indirect and dressed up in various ways so as not to be so obvious.

    Many people here have particular products that they favor, which they often suggest to others, defend against critical comments, conduct informal testing of, etc. The problem is that in and of themselves, these actions are neutral; it is the intent of the person who conducts them that determines their appropriateness. For instance, when does defending a product against critical comments turn from objective discourse based only on the substance of the comments into defending any comments that might jeopardize the product's or the developer's/company's reputation? When does conducting informal testing turn from a genuine attempt to determine the effectiveness of a product into biased testing to demonstrate the effectivness of the product? When does suggesting a product to others turn from genuinely trying to help others secure their computer into a commercially motiviated or fanboy derived plug for a product? The dillemma is that consistently determining the intent of such actions isn't that easy. Assuming the moderators attempt to regulate such endorsements, their task is not an easy one. The lesson is that there is too much fanboyism here. The ideal solution here is self-regulation. People should try to be as objective as possible when evaluating and commenting on products. Realistically, it's going to take a combination of both to alleviate this. I implore everyone to seriously consider this and make concerted efforts to subdue it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2007
  2. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    The problem with people posting solely about a product they like and encouraging others to use it, is that it is basically an endorsement of the product, and as such it verges on being an advertisment or solicitation. It is difficult to determine whether it is commercially motivated, fanboy derived, or simply a neutral attempt to let others know you like the product and that they should try it. If moderators are going to regulate advertisements and solicitations for products, they should probably try to mitigate threads/posts that blur these lines and makes there job more difficult.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2007
  3. trjam

    trjam Registered Member

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    geez, I am not endorsing it, or a fanboy, just saying it is a good product and worth trying.:oops:
     
  4. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    As I said, this wasn't directed at you specifically, but at everyone. So don't take it so hard. Also, to clarify, you are in fact endorsing it ('I urge you folks to try AVG-AS out...'), but that doesn't necessarily mean you are a fanboy. To be honest, I think you switch products wait too often to even come close to being fanboy.
     
  5. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    There are some forum options here.
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/faq.php?faq=vb_user_maintain#faq_vb_buddy_explain

    To be sure, honest, upfront, discussions are encouraged here. "What is the best" discussions are not worth the pixels on your screen.
     
  6. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    You can make positive or negative comments about a product and there will ALWAYS be someone who either backs you up 100% and another who says you are just total BS. That is how it is with almost anything in life. You have to use your prior experience and background to bolster your comments and views about a product, but to become a true objective commenter on products, I think you have to be part of their development or involved in its production in order to provide expert comments and advice. Many users are only casual users and learn by word of mouth. People post comments and views on this forum, otherwise it should be only a static encyclopedia of security software information. Whether there are a lot of fanboys here doesn't really affect me because a lot of things falls on deaf ears here anyway. :D

    FWIW, I have used AVG-AS on demand scan one time. Since my system was not infected, it only indicated cookie entries. So is it a cut above other programs? I don't think I am qualified to answer that one. :cool:
     
  7. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    When I say people should be objective in evaluating and commenting on products, I don't mean to the exclusion of their experience with the products, but rather objective from any potential biases, be it commercially driven or derived from fanboyism. People should evaluate products based on their own experience with them, others' experiences with them, reviews from qualified people, tests conducted by qualified people, etc. I'm not saying people should cease commenting on products, but rather that they should subdue any biases that hinder genuine and substantive dialog about products. Of course many comments about products are based on opinion, there is nothing wrong with that. Where it goes wrong is when one's opinion about a product is no longer based on their objective assessment of the aformentioned factors that one should use to evaluate products, but rather from a commercially driven or fanboyism derived bias. When one becomes a fanboy, they suffer from confirmation bias. They have a loyalty to some product, that they generally hold to be the best, anything that counters that notion is disregarded or rationalized to confirm what they want to believe and what they want others to believe, namely that their beloved product is better than others (if not the best). Someone who is endorsing a product based on a commercially driven bias doesn't need to do any of this, because they don't have to believe what they are saying, they are just saying it to convince people that their product is better than others (if not the best). Both are like a virus to forums where substantive and genuine dialog is the aim and should be avoided at all costs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  8. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    Thanks Ron for the suggestion, but I don't think ignoring the issue by ignoring those who perpetuate it is an actual solution, as it doesn't do anything to address the actual problem, which is not that I have to deal with biased comments, but rather that such comments lower the standards of this forum. At best they are unhelpful to those that visit this forum, at worst they are counterproductive for those that take the time to read them as they are often misleading. Either way, something should be done to mitigate them. As I said before, I think the best solution is twofold, self-regulation on everyone's part, and some formal regulation from the Mods. However, a prerequisite to this solution is the realization and acknowledgement of this problem from everyone, and simply ignoring it prevents that from taking place.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  9. Page42

    Page42 Registered Member

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    I say that the focus should be on the developer. The fanboyism springs from a forum that serves as a breeding ground for developers who come here and construct "platforms". When developers make appearances here under the auspices of giving help, but instead launch into speeches and reprimands and engage in heated discourse, it is little wonder that we see customers taking sides and rapidly losing objectivity. Suddenly it's the Super Bowl or the World Series, and my team can kick your team's ass, instead of collaborative discussion about software tools meant to protect us all against a common opponent, malware.

    (I read bellgamin's fine observation yesterday, and it bears repeating... "As for forums -- I would rather the SSM programmer give priority to business".)

    Some of these developers need to pull themselves away from the flames, and go do what they claim they do best. When that happens, I say much of what you are observing will dry up and vanish.
     
  10. Dogbiscuit

    Dogbiscuit Guest

    Trying to rid yourself of biases is a fultile endeavor. Just be aware of them as much as possible, and act accordingly. That's probably the best you can do.
     
  11. Inspector Clouseau

    Inspector Clouseau AV Expert

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    NO.
    People always tend to draw some personal conclusions based on a lot of different things besides the real product points. You start asking a lot of silly questions just to bring back a discussion of your favorite product. You "advertise" your favorite product in other threads were people asking about other products. You try to convince people because YOU think it's best for them too. The whole thing becomes especially highly childish if you jump from product to product (always picking the "best") to promote it. I've seen (and still see!) enough members here doing that.

    I opened the international Antivirus Workshop in Reykjavik 2 months ago with the words "I'm just waiting for the news that some guy set his neighbors home office on fire because he used something else than the suggested Antivirus Solution and therefore was not worthy to use any computer anymore." Think about it twice. We've reached this level *almost*

    Most of the comments made in forums are just RUBBISH. A sentence like "I've never had any problems with it" doesn't help anybody. Or promoting something because it detected something on YOUR machine. Or discussing over and over again the latest antivirus test results. Keep in mind: You're discussing numbers and results you didn't make yourself. Usually the first look in such results is "Where's my program located". If it's in the top then we better start a thread and telling others how well it did. If it didn't that well then we just wait until somebody mentions it and if needed we defend "our" program by writing that you know that company X is already improving it.

    We've reached already a level here that some members telling other members which are working for decades in this business that they are "fools":
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1032576&postcount=69

    Now guess what? If i would be Stefan i just would stop (or at least limit) posting here. We all have our work to do and there's only little time to make forum posts. But if you see then such trash no wonder that the real experts just prefer to remain silent most of the time.
     
  12. fax

    fax Registered Member

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    100% Agree :thumb:

    Forum Moderator seems not to intervene unless abusive wording is used...
    I have personally no problem in a fanboy reporting how good is 'his' security product but unfortunately it’s not always like this...

    Some user at wilders just post unsubstantiated, false or even denigrating information about a competing products to reinforce the use of ‘xyz’ product over an ‘abc’ product. Sometime is simply due to ignorance most of the time is sadly done on purpose.

    This is quite unprofessional, unhelpful and annoying to say the least.
    Up to few years ago, this forum was a reference for security related information and issues but this moving very quickly into chit/chat/rubbish and the like. Really a pity…

    Fax
     
  13. Antarctica

    Antarctica Registered Member

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    I fully agree with what Inspector Clouseau said above. But I don't think this Forum is different from discussion between friends in every day life.

    Look when people talk about their car, their bike, their TV or whatever (not mentionning their wife:D ) it's never objective.:)
     
  14. 12fw

    12fw Registered Member

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    Definitely not.

    The fine line between product bashing and objective criticism is often blurred. Then the opposite holds true, as the fine line between postive reviews and over endearing a product gets blurred.

    Such is life.

    I would like to see more user advisements for preventive measures and safer habits as opposed to the espousing of extra security applications. Often the extras are unneeeded, if the users just had some more experience or insight.

    12fw
     
  15. Franklin

    Franklin Registered Member

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    Think about it, a forum is a place for discussions, help and advice.

    Most of us do push and stick by for our fanboy apps and we tend to get a tad shirty as well, but that's just human nature.

    If it wasn't for this forum I would have probably still been using some useless anti virus app and been infected a million times.;)

    buıppıʞ ʇsnظ
     
  16. BlueZannetti

    BlueZannetti Administrator

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    Folks,

    Public discourse is messy business. It always has been and it always will be due to the diversity of our underlying expertise and experiences. The topical area really doesn't matter, although I am often taken aback by the level of posturing that seems to permeate discussions related to computer security and product offerings in the area. That's not restricted to this site, it's a general observation.

    I've generally observed that excesses in any direction tend to be self-correcting over time as long as the participant base remains diverse and the contributers remain rationale. Of course, we've probably all seen examples where one or the other of these no longer applies.

    Let's not lose sight of the fact that a large part of what happens at this site is peer based support within the user community. We're not all technical experts, nor is that required to make a contribution. If everyone comes to this site with a mind to support, educate, and/or learn, much of the negative discussed above simply won't happen.

    As for objectivity, the material that's the core of this site involves what each of us do to mitigate risk. Our personal assessment of risk aversion is embedded in those measures, so we start from a point that is anything but objective. Understanding that, and how that influences our perspective, is the best way to keep the discussion as objective and productive as possible.

    Blue
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Excellent points Blue

    There is another reality. People are much more emotional about things then they are objective. How many fathers are objective about the boys their daughters date, when they first start dating. This is life and isn't going to change.

    In fact this thread has is as much emotional as it is objective.

    Pete
     
  18. duke1959

    duke1959 Very Frequent Poster

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    When I enter and read the comments in this forum, although there may sometimes be discord among the members here, I feel that they are in some ways like family to one another. Anyone that has read my posts knows I'm always trying out new software and can be a pain to some people for that reason alone, and yet with everything written in here including product bashing and yes the arguments too, these "family members" still have taken time on occasion to help me or at least reply back. My point is that it seems at the end of the day, or sometimes the next, (LOL) everyone somehow ends up getting along know matter what their preferences are in the software they choose. I'm sure if some folks read this forum they could go away with the feeling that the people in here are just a bunch of nerds with nothing better to do, but I see a community of people who are much nicer to each other than what is often displayed outside these forums, and I don't personally care how objective anyone is when discussing anything, as long as at the end of the day, or the next, like in here they still get along.
     
  19. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I realize that there are biases regarding various programs. But the biases come from personal experiences, which are valuable to others in determining what to use.
    I think it is especially important when considering different applications to use in layering.

    However, there is a difference in giving one's personal experience and acting like that product is your mother, and any criticism warrants a fist fight. That is a little overstated, of course, but maybe not much.
    I think most/all of us learn whose opinions to discount when it comes to their favorites. It is not helpful to ignore the OP questions, and jump in with pushing your own favorite as if your livelihood depended upon it.

    So I would hope that all would provide experiences and recommendations when appropriate, but always realize that your experience may not necessarily be the same as others with different systems and applications.

    The personal experience of others, and trusted tests, such as AVC, are about the only way to make some choices as to what to try to see what you find works best for you. BUT, there is no excuse to flame.

    I left one forum because when my experience with the program did not coincide with some others, they were insulting. That does not help.

    Regards,
    Jerry
     
  20. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    True, i'm guilty of some of that sure, at least a few months ago. But like BlueZannetti says, (incidentally one of my favourite posters)
    I learn from it too. I calmed down. Few members did point out the essential. Others could do a whole lot more, but i feel won't. I can guess why.

    And then there's the "fanboys" enemies, the "haters". They just trash products out of something unknown, without reasoning provided (hello).

    Some of what i read here in this thread is too wrong also. What else can i share other than my experience on the programs? You want me to audit code? Get real. Or share your thoughts, don't just criticise.

    I say this too, what i already said some time ago: we are beings with bounded rationality. I see flaws in your arguments too.
     
  21. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    While all of these comments are true to an extent, simply observing that people by nature are susceptible to bias, that such bias is commonplace, and that attempting to eliminate them entirely is futile does not refute my suggestion that everyone should acknowledge any bias present within themselves and strive to subdue them when discussing products. I realize that not all of you made those comments with the intent on undermining my suggestion, but it is implicit in such comments. Regardless, I understand that absolute objectivity in all aspects of life is impossible, beyond that it is undesireable. To reiterate, when I say objective in this thread, I mean it within the context of this thread, I don't mean it to apply elsewhere.
     
  22. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    While getting along is great and all, that is not the point of this forum. This forum is here as a platform to discuss computer security and related subjects. Granted, getting along and developing a sense of community is instrumental in making this forum a place to have genuine and substantive dialog, but by itself without concern for objectivity it would render this place a meeting ground among friends to share biased views of products, make misleading comments, and spread misinformation. Obviously that is not what we want.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2007
  23. walking paradox

    walking paradox Registered Member

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    Have I not been sharing my thoughts throughout this thread? As for you comment about what people should share, it has already been addressed.

    Well by all means, elaborate on said flaws. Simply stating that they exist isn't really helping. I welcome all comments about this, be they critical or otherwise, as long as they are constructive.
     
  24. Pedro

    Pedro Registered Member

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    Not you individually (English can be limiting at times). By "you" i mean in the plural, and not naming anyone, but i am replying to some. I see that i phrased it wrong, sorry.
     
  25. trjam

    trjam Registered Member

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    I have been guilty of a lot of things here. So I realize this and understand exactly what IC is saying. But since the majority of this relates to my posting about AVG-AS, all I was saying it that since trying it, its a nice product. Period. It is true, at least in my case that I flip and endorse and that can be a issue for some, especially if they spend money on anything I have posted. So for the less educated on security products such as myself, it may be better for all just to zip it.
     
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