I think vs. I know

Just a short note about well intended mis-information.

I worked in a field of engineering where it was critical to NEVER give an answer until one was 100% absolutely sure one's facts were correct, or your firm would be sued back to the Stone Age. There are hard facts, facts that are open to interpretation and opinions. On the other hand are mistakes, mis-information and lies.

There are a few highly vocal members that I thought were helpful and cool, but then I see them post something that is so wrong I'm like "OMG! I've been listening to an idiot." There is nothing wrong with opinions or conjecture as long as it is labelled as such. If one is presenting a fact, please back it up with a link.

For me, there is a clear line between 'I think I know' and 'I know I know'. If I think I know, I know I will want to know if I am right, so I verify my info is correct before passing it on (and I keep the documentation on file in case I have to testify in court). If I can't be bothered to look it up I use phrases like...

'Correct me if I am wrong, but ...'
'I think that ...'
'I believe ...'
'Don't quote me on this ...'
'It's sorta like this... but your mileage may vary.'
'Ooops, I left my calculator in the office. I'll get back to you.'
'I could give you the answer right now, but then I would have to kill you.'
(I used that one when a contractor tried to put me in thumbscrews during a meeting)

I'm not trying to be a grammar Nazi or anything. Most of the members of Tek Syndicate are smart and helpful.
Sometimes it's hard to tell who is in IT and who is a well intentioned 14 year old wannabe.

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The most infuriating thing I've seen relating to this is when people use their age and "years of experience" to make themselves the default source of accurate information and to belittle others or dismiss their input. My boss, for instance. Complained of slow computers, but point-blank refused to upgrade to SSDs because he thought that all he needed was more RAM, because he's still living in the 1990s.

Well, I sorted that out in the end. No-one patronizes me about something I know has been researched and proven time and time again and gets away with it.

As someone who just sits within the "wannabe" position until further hard work is done, that's why I usually just stick to lurking, or occasionally posing a question. How does one go about participating in the forums often without a decent amount of prerequisite skills?

Personally I feel Years of Experience is absolute horseshit. It doesn't mean anything.

As for I know vs I think.

Saying " I Think" is perfectly fine IF AND ONLY IF you make it clear you don't know.

As for "I Know" well you don't always know. There's a difference between knowing something theoretically will happen, and what should happen because you experienced it first hand.

I love this.
I recently had an argument with people that were ganging up on me saying that I was wrong because some website contradicted my claims. I made it clear that "I believe you, but these are the results I observed on my setup, doing the best testing I can do, with my non-laboratory grade devices. The exact numbers don't matter, but the difference between the 2 tests is significant. Your mileage may vary."

BTW: I may be wrong, but when I say "I think" the uncertainty is implied.

LOL.......that's oh so funny!

So your going to tell me that someone who has worked at a profession for any number of years doesn't have more knowledge or understanding then a noob fresh out of college who has no practical experience only book learning?

So when your 40 and have worked in the same field for 20+ years come back and tell us all about how that 20+ years doesn't help you work faster, safer, and smarter, experience in a profession is just the same as life experiences but I guess there is nothing to learn from them either?


It goes both ways, depends on the person. Most people get better with experience. I have encountered people that have told me "I've been doing this since you were in diapers watching cartoons." To which I replied "But there is a better way to do it now." A lot of arrogant old guys resent learning anything from the new kid in town.

On the other hand I always liked to meet with the contractors to learn from them. I would say "My plans are just lines on paper that can be erased. If you have a better way, show me and I will change my plans so we can make the real thing the best it can be." I learned a lot of great ideas from the guys wearing tool belts and work boots.

I worked with a dude who had '15 years experience' and he was one of the most useless people I've ever met. I think there's an important difference between being successful in an industry and just somehow managing to exist within it.


Unless stated and backed up otherwise, everything is just a guess. I treat others that way and want to be treated that way.
And the best thing is just to make clear you do not know! It is nothing to be ashamed of. Politicians often throw arround with something (not a fact, not proven, null and void statement) and have to deal with [minor] consequences afterward. I could check some box here and people will die. Nobody wants me to guess.
The experience thing is horsesh*t! How is living longer an argument? Are we part of an RPG and you got the trait "respect the elderly" or what? If a process is optimized, use it. In case it isn´t, optimize it together with others!

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Agreed things change and new ways are developed, people who resist change become stagnate, but most professions only the theories, or basic fundamentals can be taught in collage, experience comes from doing and making mistakes and learning from those mistakes, and of course not repeating those mistakes.

I can not tell you the number of young collage grads that I have had to de-program over the years because you can only learn so much from books and teachers, and in some case's they get it totally wrong because what they have learned is in very strict confines which you almost never run into in the real world, granted teachers/classes can't prepare you for every possible situation only give you a broad understanding in the strict confines of a classroom.

Experience is where you really start to learn a profession and most people who are good at their jobs and have been doing that job for years will tell you that they learned 100X more from doing the job then they learned in the classroom, just as you can't learn about life from one experience it takes many many experiences to learn just a small aspect of humanity To say that years of experience in doing anything doesn't make a difference is really disingenuous and flat out wrong, the only person who would think or say such a thing is very young and naive.

But of course this is just my opinion.

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I think both sides of this make sense, even though they may look like they oppose each other. While spending a lot of time doing a particular thing CAN imply a certain level of skill, it can also just show how some people can spend their whole life skating by without ever doing much. I'm under 20, but can make a pretty mean scrambled eggs. Meanwhile one of my friends parents at over 40 can't seem to figure out how not to burn a thick layer of egg to the pan every single time. It's just an anecdote sure, but I think it gets his point across in a less abrasive manner

So you've never dealt with a Tenure teacher in school who has '10, 15 Years Experience teaching' who doesn't know how to teach?

The pure concept of experience does not make any sense. Just as respect does not make any sense.
You can be a clever guy, maybe your are someone history books will call you "wise" later on but still be the biggest idiot on the planet.

oh he's a young, even i remember making this mistake.

lawl, i also love how some people treat their own anecdotal experience as what occurs for everyone all the time. and as such becomes FACT for them.

the fact is we can all learn from each other because everyone has a unique experience. and sharing them we may discover we are not all that different.

ah.............. can't chuck rocks at glass houses.

I think this thread has been derailed.

I think we can agree it is important to give the most accurate advice we can find. If you're not sure, feel free to let us know your opinion but don't claim it is a fact.


One day's facts is tomorrow's bs ?

"What works for now has no right to work later."

Oh yes....as the saying goes "those that can, do, those that can't, teach" I'm well aware of the mentality of teachers especially those with a doctorate or masters, I was married to one for a number of years and know very well that the adage I quoted above is true.

But teachers aside because they are a protected species through tenure, most of the rest of us live and die by our job performance and the value we can provide a employer.

An analogy for you @Kat to further my point, if you play games have you ever bought a game guide and read it? did it tell you anything more then a basic understanding of how the game works? while it might have helped you along in a complex game did you not learn more about that game and the play dynamics by actually playing the game? and if you decided the game was good enough to play a 2nd time did you not draw upon that 1st play experience to keep you from pitfalls and mistakes the 2nd time around?

Games/work/profession = same thing! :)