6

As this site can concern some private interests that may feel endangered by answers that go against what they say, and against their marketing policies, how can we be certain that people answering here are honest and not involved in any conflict of interest?

10

We don't care whether they answerers are neutral. We only care about whether they are right.

Now, how do we know if they are right? References. References are crucial on this site. We need them to verify whether someone is telling the truth or not. When you see an answer without references, don't upvote it. Even if you think they are right, don't. It might just be confirmation bias. Ask for proof.

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    -1 for lack of references :P Edit: whoops, never mind, there is a reference in there. – Jason Plank Mar 12 '11 at 22:44
8

We don't care whether they answerers are neutral. We only care about whether they are right. <

While in essence I agree with this sentiment, I think that being able to present an answer in a neutral fashion may do more for the cause of skepticism and reality based science than an answer presented in a tone that may appear hostile or in other ways objectionable to someone asking the question.

I know that I am often less kind than I should be in presenting an answer to obvious BS/hokum like homeopathy, ET aliens, and the like. It's something I have to work at.

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    I understood neutral to mean "objective," not referring to a neutral tone. We are in agreement. Answers, like questions, are best when phrased dispassionately and objectively. – Borror0 Mar 11 '11 at 15:33
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We can't. If we have five answer on whether homeopathy works there nothing wrong when one of those is a well argued answer by a homeopathist.

It's a good think when a question contains well argued answers on all sides of the debate and the visitor can read through them to see which arguments makes the most sense. If some marketing person lies in his answer then a user can call him on his lie in the comments.

You can also give people who are public with their name and photo more weight or trust people who just registered for a given answer and don't have reputation less weight.

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    "You can also give people who are public with their name and photo more weight" - isn't this easy enough to fake? – Casebash Mar 12 '11 at 1:28
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    If an employee of a pharma company gives an anonymous answer on a message board there no scandal. If he however fakes an identity you have a scandal. In the past I did a lot of spam fighting as forum moderator and dealt with a internet marketers and scientology folk and that criteria helped me in making my decisions. It's no bulletproof criteria but it's better than nothing. – Christian Mar 12 '11 at 12:03

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