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Old 05-25-2003, 10:37 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Technical Accuracy

I am constantly faced with a quandry.

Should I leave technical inaccuracy unattended? Should I correct a member of good standing and significant contribution? This isn't my site and I have no responsibility to it or its members. I like to talk but I hate contention.

I was a chess star in high school but quit the game in college because I didn't like what I did to win. I have the ability to be real nasty and I work to keep from going there. I have never left an untruth, uncountered; but it can be costly.

I have been able to leave posts where the truthful thing would be to state that there isn't enough knowledge to continue. but, I can't pull myself from mis statements that can cause future damage.

How should I handle it? I had to listen to a good friend the other day tell about how he was getting beaten up for telling a bunch of BMW techs online that they shouldn't be working on what they were as they weren't prepared. I went into the site and read it. it wasn't pretty. I was embarassed to tell him that he had to be more tolerant; and real embarassed to tell him the level I put up with on this site. I didn't tell him because he would look down upon me.

Should I stay to tech only sites where technical inaccuracy has a half-life in nanoseconds? Where contending views are sorted out through facts not case studies?
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:48 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Portsmouth UK
Posts: 170

For what it is worth - my response.

We are all on this forum for the same purpose - to help, to be helped and to share.

You are a recognised and valuable contributor to the site and if you spot a technical inaccuracy I would certainly hope you that you alerted us to it.

Now as to the manner of how the correction is posted - that is a matter for you - but hey we are all grown ups.

My opinion - this is probably the best MB forum in the world (doesn't really cover my model (89-230TE Euro) but there is enough common ground) and there are some really awesome contributors.

The sheer volume and detail on this site makes it a great resource - no one person can know everything or even remember all the detail of a procedure etc. So I am sure in that vein no one should mind too much if they are corrected for slippages.
230 TE (W124) 1989 with 153,000 miles on the clock - hoping for at least another 100K
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Old 05-25-2003, 10:54 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Fort Gratiot, MI
Posts: 35
These forums need experts like you to keep the rest of us some what headed in the right direction. Sometimes accuracy is essential, and sometimes it is not. Expertise becomes essential in making those decisions. We would expect an expert to step in at that time to put us straight. In doing so some feelings may get hurt, but generally that is lessened by supported fact versus personal opinion. Supported fact is what can help to guide us in our trouble shooting and repairs.
Hang in there!
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Old 05-25-2003, 11:08 AM
Glen's Avatar enthusiast
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
Posts: 1,185
Technical accuracy

I think you should always correct technical inaccuracy whether from a longstanding member or newbie, however, it may be best to PM the user and point out the inaccuracy to give them a chance to correct it.
Glen Tokuhara
Beauty & the Beast and the wagon that could!
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Old 05-25-2003, 11:48 AM
blackmercedes's Avatar
Just a guy
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: St. Albert, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,492
Even someone that is recognized as an expert in their field cannot claim to have all-encompassing knowledge on any topic.

This is true for automobile techs too!

Steve, I have found your contributions invaluable, and have often wished that I didn't live a week's drive away so that I could repay some of your contributions here with some business. You would be missed greatly!

For the sake of clarity and accuracy, I would hope that you would be able to correct even the most seasoned pro when they do slip up. Would you take offence is someone pointed out an error that you made? I don't recall such offence being taken.

One thing that we should remember is that the archived posts serve as a valuable resource for all members, and having them contain accurate information does nothing but increase their value to everyone on here.

Thanks to Steve, Doc, etc. I know more about my car than the service writer at my local dealer. My knowledge of some things like the AC/ACC system even surprised one of the dealer techs the other day. ALL of it was learned here.
John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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Old 05-25-2003, 02:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
Personally, I never let an inaccuracy I read pass unanswered, whether my opinion is right or wrong ultimately. If I'm wrong, I just hope someone else will point that out. Unfortunately, my experience and thus any knowledge of MB vehicles is limited to what I have done as a DIY on our one MB vehicle in 2 years time. Most of the questions on this forum are model/year specific ones, and if someone were to post an inaccuracy, I wouldn't have a clue.

Fortunately for you, Steve, this is not a problem. Unfortunately, I'm sure you don't have the time to personally respond to each and every question. Still, how can this forum be helpful if we don't all contribute where our experiences may help some other soul? Sometimes that can be as simple as pointing to a new search choice - as good as the search engine is here, some relevant stuff may be obscured.

Specifically in your case, the pubs and links to articles you've authored and detailed answers you've contributed, as well as those of the other pros here, can often be more helpful than answering the same questions over and over. I think we all yearn for more articles.

Anyway, just try not to get too annoyed, and keep up the good work.

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Old 05-25-2003, 02:48 PM
MTI's Avatar
MTI MTI is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Posts: 10,627
As someone who has, more than once, been "technically inaccurate", I have always appreciated being pointed in the right direction. Given the nature of the internet and forums, it'sbetter to nip things in the bud and prevent the propogation of incorrect information.
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Old 05-25-2003, 02:50 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: New Jersey, U.S.A.
Posts: 2,398
Hey Steve, here's my two cents, for what it's worth. Technical accuracy sometimes leaves no room for opinion. It is the way it is. When information that's posted is downright wrong, you're obligated to post a correction. I'm a longtime dealer tech/team leader and I've jumped in several times to correct inaccurate posts. I've only done this when; 1. The mis-information was stated as factual. 2. The person in need of help/advice was going to wind up screwed. 3. I absolutely knew the answer. I enjoy sharing my MB knowledge with DIYer's. I respect anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty, and I'm sure you feel the same way. This is why you SHOULD correct mistakes when you find them. The seriousness/consequences of the error will be left to your own judgment. Thanks for listening
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Old 05-25-2003, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Maryland. USA
Posts: 180

You're an asset to this forum. As a certifiable shade tree mechanic, I have my fair share of misconceptions and probably have forwarded too many of them. You and your fellow pros make me more informed everyday. My world is very simple, four vehicles (2 volvo, 2 benz).

There are few absolutes, even in automotive diagnostics and repairs. Therefore, I never presume that your (or any other respected tech on this forum) choosing to not comment on a thread equates to your blessing the technical content/accuracy.

One thought that may help your techincal conscience or perceived need to correct. There appears to be a number of recurring items that captures folks attention (and emotions). Lubricants, antifreeze, brake fluid, spark plugs, R-12 to R134 conversions, HVAC diagnostics, and the list goes on..... You might consider addressing items that are really grabbing your attention, with a technical article as you've done using other articles [yes, the man is published]. Stated differently, transfer that energy to an article/tech-document/tech-note you can point to in your response to an inaccuracy. It doesn't have to start out "complete". It could start out addressing a specific area (with a caveat that puts the information into the correct context). Then as others items need to be addressed, you could add to. Your doing it in one place, vice "everytime".

Thanks for all of your contributions.
S, J.R. Brown
2000 G500 LWB Obsedian Black
2005 Toyota Tacoma Access Cab Off Road Sport
1993 Volvo 240 Sedan Anthracite
1980 450SEL Champange (owned it for 15 years. Great car)
1986 280GE LWB Anthracite (Sold it and kinda wish I hadn't)
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Old 05-25-2003, 03:44 PM
engatwork's Avatar
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
Posts: 11,232
Steve - I would most definitely state what you know, from experience and training, to be correct then if the other poster wants to post otherwise well, so be it. I would not worry too much about it after you have made your statement. You would think I was from Missouri because alot of stuff anymore someone has to "show me". Being in the business all these years you have probably seen it all in regards to customers misguided BS. I just see a portion of it and some of what I see blows me away.
Keep up the good work Steve.
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Old 05-25-2003, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
Thanks, for the good words, it helps.

My wife happened upon the thread in question as I was watching Indy and warned me not to go back to it and I won't. I did get her rendition of it as she explained it to my buddy (another shop owner over for the race). But this is what I am talking about. Very hard to deal with character assasination over the issue I questioned.

A person has to be real small to think that opinions dressed as facts aquire any more stature by degrading the messenger.
Steve Brotherton
Continental Imports
Gainesville FL
Bosch Master, ASE Master, L1
33 years MB technician
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Old 05-25-2003, 05:51 PM
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Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 3,096

I would hope that any inaccurate posting is corrected, especially a technical one. I am extremely grateful for the total knowledge this site provides and especially from professionals such as you.

Although a member for only a few years myself, it seems that there is often a process to the postings for help- that is, someone will request help/information and that is followed by often by both anecdotal experiences and then by someone who has "been there and done that".

This is where it can be hard on moderators. The most posted items (brands of oils, spark plugs, tire etc) all bring personal experiences that by definition are not empirical, but make for some lively and often good discussions.

What seems to set this forum apart from others are the collective intentions of the members and the moderators. By and large, it appears the members of this forum are good-hearted people willing to help and share around remarkable automobiles. I recall our efforts to help a family in desperate need in Kansas about a year ago, even to the point of sending them money. Good hearts.

Thank you for all your postings for those of us who are in search of correct solutions.

You have helped me personally several times and I am enjoying the results of having been technically corrected to the RIGHT repair/solution for our cars.

This is incredibly invaluable in my opinion. It is the difference between fair and excellence.

I look forward to your next technical corrections ...

'03 E320 Wagon-Sold
'95 E320 Wagon-Went to Ex
'93 190E 2.6-Wrecked
'91 300E-Went to Ex
'65 911 Coupe (#302580)
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Old 05-25-2003, 06:53 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Great White North!!!!
Posts: 400
as one of the least knowledgable on this site

i would ask you to stay the course.ultimately the decision is yours and yours alone.i can say that i do enjoy reading your contributions and i'm sure you've helped me in the past.whether you or the other guy were right,partly right or both wrong i don't know.what i do know is that it's great to have this forum and get all views and we make our own decisions from there.i'd be selfish to ask you to stay with this forum,so thanks and hopefully we'll be hearing from you for a long time still
'95 s500 (bought for wife but can't bear to share!!!) 125kms
'92 legend 180kms
'88 tbirdturbo(fantastic car-only regular maint.)120kms
'87 mustang gt(gone)
'86 tbirdturbo(gone)
'85 mustang gt(gone-but not forgotten)
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Old 05-25-2003, 07:47 PM
I told you so!
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Motor City, MI
Posts: 2,741
Steve, it is your ethical responsibility to correct any misinformation you may come across on any technical website. Once the correction is made, you are not responsible for any adverse reaction somebody may have who takes your posts personally and feels slighted. That's their problem.

Of course, it also depends on how a correction is worded. One must attack the issue - not the person discussing it. I have never noticed you attack anyone personally. So rest assured you are well within your bounds of our discussions, and are welcome to correct anyone - including myself - if you find error. I'd hate to think I steered somebody in the wrong direction without being corrected.

I've never visited a BMW website. Compared with this M-B site, do these people have attitude problems?
95 E320 Cabriolet, 131K
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Old 05-25-2003, 09:11 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,160
Originally posted by Kestas

I've never visited a BMW website. Compared with this M-B site, do these people have attitude problems?
Hell yes. Most of them are wannabe M-B drivers.


Keep doing what you have been, namely a great job.
What's the name of the movie, where Jack Nicholson said: " You can't handle the truth" ?
2007 C 230 Sport.
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