Trust

Do you trust me?
Why?
or, Why Not?
Under what circumstances?
Within which limits?
Is it conditional?
or, Do you never think of it in terms of 'trust' exactly?

58 responses so far

  • anne says:

    DM,
    Your questions are very interesting.
    1. IMO, trust can't be conditional. If trust is conditional, then it must be something else but not trust.
    2. I did not understand what you meant by "Do you never think of it in terms of 'trust' exactly?"

  • Stephanie Z says:

    I don't trust you, but I trust almost no one and I don't really think of it in terms of trust. I have a sense of what your goals (including entertainment) are in the venues where we interact and what your preferred tactics are. I don't know how correct or complete that sense is, but it's a lot better than it was the first time we got into an argument. So I know, or think I know, where I'm taking risks in dealing with you versus where I think I know more or less how it will go, and I make my decisions based on how risk-tolerant I'm feeling.
    All of which may be the functional equivalent of trusting you, particularly since I think many of our goals are the same.

  • whimple says:

    No, I don't trust you. 1) I don't know you so I don't know if any of your statements are knowledgeable. 2) I don't know you so I don't know what kind of hidden agenda might underlie your statements. I read your blog for entertainment purposes only, exactly as intended. If you stop being entertaining, I will stop reading. šŸ™‚

  • DrugMonkey says:

    If you stop being entertaining, I will stop reading. šŸ™‚
    Big threat coming from one of my demonstrably longest-term commenters... šŸ™‚

  • anne says:

    Stephanie Z, I am not sure I understood your post
    "I don't trust you, but I trust almost no one and I don't really think of it in terms of trust."
    I question the sanity of this statement as a possible principle in life. I am under the impression that living with the consequences of such a belief can lead to a schizophrenic society. I prefer to live trusting every human being until the facts lead me to question whether a specific person, group, idea or social system are up to enjoying the gift of being trusted.
    If the facts show evidence that somebody or something is not to be trusted, then yes
    "I know, or think I know, where I'm taking risks in dealing with you versus where I think I know more or less how it will go, and I make my decisions based on how risk-tolerant I'm feeling".

  • becca says:

    "Do you trust me?"
    7
    "Why? or, Why Not?
    I've observed you long enough to note consistency in some areas, and where your internal inconsistencies tend to be.
    Under what circumstances?
    When you're writing under DM (wait, did I just imply sockpupetry?! the horrors!), about things you either do not have much of an agenda with, or things your agenda is mostly in line with mine.
    Within which limits?
    I wouldn't say there are things I definitely don't trust you on, but there are things I trust you on a lot (e.g. advice on NIH machinery), things with intermediate levels of trust (e.g. drug abuse science), and things I don't trust you on so much (e.g. ARA news)
    Is it conditional?
    Not especially, but my trust in anyone doesn't prevent me from looking at more data.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    anne, much like you, I'm not in a position to really talk about how it works for anyone else. All I can say is that it works for me. And since it's functional, I think the sanity question is moot.

  • anne says:

    Becca,
    You made my day today !. I am glad that you have discover internal inconsistencies. Otherwise, I would already be in heaven and that is a place where I am not prepared to be as yet. Since I was a little girl, I have heard my dad saying that in heaven boys and girls are separated but you're allowed to play in the garden together for half an hour everyday. I never liked that very much because I believe in mixing people at all times for greater fun.
    Yes. You're right that trust implies the desire to looking at more data to enhance your trust.

  • Snarky McLizard PantsnfefferSocks says:

    becca,
    I think you are confusing DM with Janet.

  • becca says:

    I meant Janet writing as her sockpuppet drugmonkey is trustworthy. Janet writing under Dr. Freeride is never to be trusted, and Janet writing under Dr. Isis is only to be trusted if the topic is shoes. Obviously.

  • yolio says:

    Mostly, I don't think about it in terms of trust. I don't need to trust you. It just isn't important. But, incidentally, I do trust you in certain areas. After reading you for awhile, I have found you to demonstrate genuine expertise on certain topics.

  • I don't think Becca's confused.
    However, Drugmonkey's questions here remind me an awful lit of the ones I suggested more than a year ago for another blogger exploring the issue of trust. Does the lack of link-back mean I shouldn't trust DM's memory?

  • anne says:

    Stephanie Z
    I got you !. Actually, I had doubts that I had understood your post.
    However, I just discovered that "The age of innocence" is over. So, I am trying to decide whether to join you in your : " I don't trust you, but I trust almost no one......"
    It's fun and at the same time kind of sad to discover that Santa is not Santa really but somebody who loves you too.

  • New Asst. Prof. says:

    Eh - blogs are fun, sometimes informative, but at the end of the day they are opinion. I enjoy reading, but like all other blogs I read I take the writer's thoughts with a grain of salt. Interesting thoughts, though!

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Does the lack of link-back mean I shouldn't trust DM's memory?
    Yes. Or your own. Except multi-personalities don't access each other. ..damn I'm so confused.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    becca raises the interesting concept that not only do we limit our trust to those who share beliefs with us, we might limit our trust to those shared beliefs when it comes to an individual.

  • becca says:

    Wait, Janet is Santa? That explains everything.

  • Pascale says:

    In general, I trust DrugMonkey. The facts expressed here show a level of truth to date, and I agree with much of what you say (so you must be right).
    There are many people in the Blogosphere who I have never knowingly met and whose real names are a mystery to me. Yet I feel I know many of you as well as many people from my non-virtual life. I trust you as much as I trust my non-family member acquaintances. Not unconditionally, like my husband and my parents, but I'm pretty certain you would cover my back in a verbal parry with someone from Fox News.

  • PalMD says:

    Perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, I trust you more due to your anonymity. It makes me think you are more likely to be respectful of the pseud/anon issues of others. Assuming you and PP have important reasons for anonymity, and based on your online behavior, I think that I trust both of you not to, for example, try to google-fu your commenters or other bloggers (or if you do, to keep it to yourself).
    Perhaps it's an implied reciprocity, I don't know.
    http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2010/01/huffpo---the_great_attractor_o.php

  • leigh says:

    i trust that you know quite a bit about (we'll venture to say "many") of the subjects you post about. i also understand that opinion inevitably presents itself, as well as individual interpretation, and it's all coming through a personal viewpoint and experiences that may or may not match with my own. sometimes these experiences give you insight i do not yet have, in which case i may find benefit somehow by reading/commenting/engaging in discussion. sometimes the differences in our opinion cause us to disagree. or agree. or sorta but not entirely agree. who knows. the potential to learn or gain something is there in most of those situations.
    there is inherent risk in interacting with anyone. as a RealName, as a pseud, on the internet, in real life, anywhere. the risk-benefit analysis here seems to be reasonable, when viewed through the unavoidable human-logical-inconsistency goggles.

  • Michael says:

    Yes, unconditionally, for anything, at any time. That's just my easy going nature.

  • pinus says:

    Trust is a weird word in this situation...while I value what you have to say, I will not make any decisions based solely on what you say...but isn't that part of making decisions..assembling information from different sources...
    however, I do trust that you have intimate knowledge of how to be a scientist (grants, etc.) and drug addiction neurobiology. I also trust that you genuinely seem to want to pass this information along to people so that they can be successful.

  • Isabel says:

    I trust you and PP like I trusted my Hells Angels neighbors:
    I instinctively trust you on a personal level not to do anything uncool, like investigate and spitefully reveal my identity in a potentially harmful way (see PalMD's comment above).
    But sometimes when I am in the middle of an argument about cannabis with you I think you are someone I could never really understand, and wonder if you are actually evil and I am no longer sure that I could count on you to the right thing in every circumstance.

  • JohnV says:

    I do but I'm fairly easy with my trust.
    In other news, I just found out some guy in Nigeria has $400,000,000 that he needs me to help him launder. I gave him my PIN and account # so he can leave me with my $10,000,000 fee.
    Also, I got this email saying Bill Gates would pay me for every person I forwarded it to. Check your spam filter!
    My lucky day.

  • Zuska says:

    I trust you:
    (1) to provide reliable mentoring info to junior scientists.
    (2) to not be intentionally sexist, racist, homophobic, or display any of a number of other ugly sorts of behaviors on blog, and not to be defensive if someone brings up an issue of unintentional offense.
    (3) to keep me on my toes about issues I don't normally think about.

  • Art says:

    Trust is not absolute with anyone. Not even myself.
    I keep a raincoat in my truck because I don't trust my ability to determine when and when it will not rain nor my ability to reliably prepare for such prediction on a day-by-day basis. That and I'm unwilling to face the consequences of my failed prediction or preparation, getting wet. I am a poor weatherman, an inconsistent provider and I don't like being wet even when I richly deserve to be.
    I also don't keep the bug spray in the medicine cabinet because I don't trust myself to reliably differentiate between shaving creme and bug juice. This is clearly a rather low standard of trust. The cans are completely unlike each other but I don't trust myself to reliably make the call.
    So recognizing that I often don't trust myself we can get to how much and why I might trust you.
    I generally trust you in areas which you demonstrate consistent concern and dedication enough to walk me through your process. It is like the old 'show your work' admonition of teachers everywhere. If you walk me through and discuss your thought process I have less opportunity to have faith in your decisions in the abstract, DM wouldn't steer me wrong because he's a good guy, but more reason to trust you in that specific case. And if I begin to trust you in a series of individual cases I slowly build up fair in you as an abstract. Limited of course by the fact that your human and will never be %100 right on anything.
    Your a well educated, well informed, well meaning and well intentioned individual who is head and shoulders more reliable than many others. But you still don't keep the bug spray in the medicine cabinet.

  • drdrA says:

    Shit, do you really need to ask?
    Oh I'll bite.
    Yes, absolutely.
    Smart, well-informed, listen to DFH, are generous with your time and advice (which is pretty much always spot on)...such a vanilla answer but I don't feel the need to overthink a question like this.
    It's that other guy I don't trust. What's his name again- Physio something...

  • ecogeofemme says:

    I trust you to write honestly about your opinions and provide honest mentorship (since that is a goal of this blog). However, I have started to trust the commentariat of this and some other blogs less over time, as they tend to lay into people in a way that, to my eyes, is sometimes unpredictable. In other words, I read the comments lest often and comment less myself since it doesn't seem worth the risk. But I guess like Science, blogging around these parts is not a Care Bears Fucking Tea Party.

  • anonymous says:

    As a professional, I absolutely trust you. You are a great thinker, always cast a critical eye, and you've done the work. Personally, I'm not so sure. Your pseudonymity gives you license to behave in some obnoxious ways (and you take full advantage of this). Also, I'm a little suspicious of people who are absolutely high on the crack-pipe of their own greatness and generally believe that everyone else in the world is an idiot and/or asshole.
    In the real world, I trust very few people.
    However, there are a few Science bloggers that I unconditionally trust, adore and respect: Revere, Janet, CPP, Bora, Abel, Ed Yong, Zuska, Mo, and Gretta and Dave. I don't keep up with everybody on SB, but there are a few others that I definitely don't trust (and some for which I don't have enough data to form an opinion).
    Forming online relationships has actually been a great way for me to learn to trust (bad childhood), even if too often the 'relationship' and the 'trust' are regrettably one-sided/unrequited.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Why is it that people always assume I am more obnoxious on blog than in real life? Why do they never consider that perhaps the pseud makes me *less* obnoxious than I really am?

  • DuWayne says:

    Yes, I trust you. (this all applies to CPP as well)
    I trust you because you have given me reason to trust you and never given me reason not to.
    I trust you to keep confidences if asked (CPP has done so on occasion) and I trust you to express what you believe to be right and true - i.e. not to lie.
    I limit my trust to the extent that I do not assume you are always correct. Not lying, doesn't mean the information you believe to be true and disseminate as though it were, is always going to be correct. On the other hand, when you are not sure of the veracity of information you are disseminating, you admit as much. Likewise, you are unafraid to admit if you are mistaken.
    I do not begrudge most people my trust. There are things that I am not willing to divulge to everyone I trust, because trust goes to some degrees, but not others. There is however, very little I am not pretty wide open about, so there is really little reason to be too concerned about trust issues. When one has little they are not completely and publicly open about, it is really easy to trust others.
    I also tend to consider that trust is something that is sometimes simply born of the fact that the person I am confiding in has nothing to gain by not keeping my confidence.

  • bsci says:

    The issue is trust in which situations.
    Do I trust that you are an honest player in scientific discussions? Yes. You're very clear about your biases and generally present enough data for me to independently evaluate your claims if I want.
    Do I trust you enough to let you babysit my children? Perhaps. I don't know you that well, but you're probably as vetted as a high school kid whose mom says he/she is a good babysitter. (I wouldn't let Physioprofs potty mouth anywhere near my children)
    Do I trust you enough to give you the root password from my computer? Not a chance.
    There is one matter of trust where I was recently lost. I always thought "bikemonkey" was the name drugmonkey used to separate is cycling posts from the rest of his topics. Recently bikemonkey has been writing about more diverse topics meaning DM is now a mythical multiple personalities patient or that they were always two people.

  • I wouldn't let Physioprofs potty mouth anywhere near my children

    Brilliant fucking idea! Cause that way they'll never hear any bad words ever and will go to their graves unsullied by "potty mouth".

  • bsci says:

    PP, do you talk this way around young children? I'm sure they'll hear many "bad" words. These words have context that are considered appropriate in certain situations and inappropriate in others. Small children are not able to understand such context. I'd prefer this words enter their vocabulary at a point when they can distinguish between the correct and incorrect times to use them.
    You've also not made me any more interested in letting you near my kids. šŸ™‚

  • becca says:

    "When one has little they are not completely and publicly open about, it is really easy to trust others."
    A risky strategy.

  • Of course I do. Indoctrinating little children in the bullshit notion that certain *words* are taboo is cruel and destructive.

  • Catharine says:

    #30: You very well may be obnoxious in real life. In fact, if anything, using a pseudomym allows you greater freedom to be your 'real (obnoxious) self.' But using a psued does allow you to send the internal editor of thoughts/behavior (that we all have) to hell and speak/act impulsively, without regard to how it will affect the feelings of others. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't really believe that you are the son of a bitch that you pretend to be. This is related to trust in the following way: I am inclined to trust you, but not so much that I would ever expect that you would ever pass up an opportunity to take my trust, wipe your ass with it, and mock me until you have succeeded in making a fool out of me. For example, you care very much about racism. However, when the discussion turns to the oppression of women/antisemitism, all the sudden we have the 'Oppression Olympics.' As a woman and a Jew, that offends me. But rather than taking my offense seriously, it becomes a way to mock me. When you're not writing about something that is interesting and important (and at least you do *that* much!), that's how you roll. That's how it seems to me anyway. For many of you self-loving academics, social justice is an abstract concept (CPP excluded, he gets it). But in my world, privilege (white men of means, in particular) is the exception, not the rule. I wipe asses of every color and every class, work closely with people ranging from high school graduates to MD/PhDs, and that COUNTS for something. I don't buy the 'ivory tower' argument but most of you don't know shit about the brown-body count world - but that doesn't stop the opinions from flying out of your motherfucking academic asses like diarrhea.
    So, fuck me! I'll 'get my own motherfucking blog,' you can #FWTAOTI (me being the asshole here and you being the ? non-asshole?? Bow down to @bobchickenshit. I'm quite sure I lack a sense of humor (especially compared to your lively and sophisticated one). What-The-Fuck-Ever.
    But, lucky for you, you CAN trust me.
    (and I forgot to say that I also trust ORAC)

  • DuWayne says:

    Small children are not able to understand such context.
    Bullshit. My eldest was swearing not long after he could talk (as much the result of using public trans, as anything else). He didn't take long to figure out (with some guidance) when it was appropriate to use such language and when it wasn't. He was also capable of figuring out who it was never a good idea to use it around and who it was only acceptable in limited circumstances. For example, he never swears around my mother and only swears around my dad when we are all working together on a home repair project and he hurts himself. Oddly enough, in the context of working with me, he never cries at injuries that in any other context would have him howling - instead he just swears about it - has since he was two.
    becca -
    I think it can be, but not terribly. The few things that I have talked to others in the blogosphere about are things that I want to blog about, but am reticent due to education and career concerns. I had no fear whatsoever that CPP (for example) would break my confidence - he has nothing to gain from it and while he may be a great many things, he is not a petty little asshat. There are certainly people I would not trust in that way, but they are mostly people who do not have opinions I care to know anyways. (not you - I like you and trust you, I just haven't had reason to share any of the very few things I am not quite public about)

  • DuWayne says:

    ...while he may be a great many things...
    All of them good, of course - excepting the occasions when he is wrong and gets all stubborn about admitting he was wrong and I was right.

  • becca says:

    DuWayne- in the context of education, and (moreso) careers, I think it can be a very risky strategy, but YMMV. Likely many of the reasons it was for me do not apply to you anyway.

  • bsci says:

    This discussion on taboo language really isn't worth highjacking this thread on so this will be my last comment on the topic. DuWayne and I both seem to agree that there are contexts where certain words are taboo. I suspect PP is one of the very few people who seems to deny that. DuWayne and I disagree (beyond individual anecdotes) on when people can/should learn this type of context and neither of us will probably change our minds based on a few more sentences in a comments thread. My main conclusion from this is that I still wouldn't want Physioprof to babysit my kids.

  • Stephanie Z says:

    +1 to Catharine on at least part of that, DM. It takes a certain amount of risk tolerance on my part to deal with your occasional tendency to treat social power tools as toys. Not just your tendency either. It creates a barrier to commenting seriously here, because there's a good chance the thought I put into doing that won't be taken seriously but will be used in someone else's game. Why bother?

  • My main conclusion from this is that I still wouldn't want Physioprof to babysit my kids.

    Little kids fucking love me!

  • DuWayne says:

    I would probably let you babysit my kids, but there would be trouble if I found motherfucking Jameson in youngest's bottle. He is pure bourbon - the good shit. I am not sure I could allow fucking Irish whiskey in teh house - unless, possibly, because you were going to visit. I do believe in taking reasonable care of my guests...
    bsci -
    I think you and I have very different ideas about taboo language. What is taboo is just that - unacceptable. The way you are using it would make a great deal of the jargon I use when discussing my areas of interest and study taboo. There is a lot of that language that I would not use in general conversation because it is inappropriate. It is just as rude to speak over the heads of most of a group of people having dinner together, as it is to say "fuck" in front of grandma.
    As for kids understanding context - folks are welcome to shelter their children from having to understand it for as long as they like. That does not mean it is true that small children cannot comprehend that some things are inappropriate, depending on the context. And if you think about it, most everything we teach our children early on involves context. Some of it just as complicated as understanding the nuances of appropriate use of profanity.
    I also understand and accept that a lot of parents would like their children to refrain altogether from using profanity. I even respect that desire, to the extent that my eldest understands that it is not polite or reasonable to encourage his friends to use profanity. However, I also think this is, in ways, stunting. Like it or not, approve or not, profanity is becoming increasingly accepted as a regular part of modern vernacular. Trying to prevent kids from being exposed just puts them behind the curve on learning to deal with it.

  • I do. More than I trust most people.

  • ginger says:

    I don't know you. I mean, I know some stuff about you from your blog, but as the cliche says, "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog." So I trust you not to misrepresent data on your blog, but I don't know whether I would trust you with my bicycle or my purse or my passport. I'd need to know some things about you first. I think I'd need to meet you in person, first - I haven't gotten to the point with the virtual world where I know how to suss someone out to the point of trusting him or her without sharing meatspace.
    That goes for everyone at SB, actually - I'd probably be more likely to trust the people who use their real names, or are relatively transparent to meatspace identification (like PalMD or the current main Revere or Orac), but that's just a step in the right direction. I'd still be pretty chary of sending Dr. Stemwedel my bankcard and PIN, or whathaveyou.

  • anonymous says:

    DuWayne,
    I agree that children, even toddlers, understand context. I just happened to confirm it two days ago when I was doing my regular running trail. This is a trail in the city for runners, interspaced with stretches of park space that is used by seniors, young mothers, lovers and so on. Two days ago, I saw a young mother with a baby in the stroll and a little boy (

  • anne says:

    DM,
    There is a consistent editing problem. Posts get cut. So that you know. It's not fun !

  • Katharine says:

    I prefer to make people earn my trust rather than trust them immediately.
    By providing consistently good blogging on topics which you have expertise on, I trust your opinions.
    I am also faintly ashamed of nearly sharing a name with Catharine-with-a-C if she has that whacked out a notion about people in academia.

  • Catharine says:

    Don't worry, Katharine-with-a-K. It's not actually my real name. It's the one my parents gave me so I could appear to be a shiksa-like-you. But is is a mistake for me to generalize about academics. Many of my closest friends are academics and all would agree with my 'wacked-out' notions of academics. Not one, however, would say anything nearly as wise as "I prefer to make people earn my trust," so I'm sure you must be quite right. I just don't know the right people. Again, you needn't be ashamed about the similarity of our names. It isn't your fault your solidly middle-class parents envisioned you sipping tea with the Queen...or perhaps marrying a doctor. The name is actually quite Common. And I do hope you don't faint.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    There is a consistent editing problem. Posts get cut. So that you know. It's not fun !
    are you talking about the commenting system? what are you experiencing? the backend of this system has been notoriously bad but I haven't had too many complaints here, mostly the highly trafficked blogs that get screwy comment experiences. if you tell me what you are experiencing I can pass it along to the tech lords

  • anne says:

    DM,
    For some reason, the editing system was erasing parts of my comment. After the posting I thought I had made a mistake. I re-wrote it and previewed it. The editing system kept erasing the same sentence several times. Then I desisted.
    Thank you for asking

  • ginger says:

    It's been my observation with Sb that the less-than sign truncates comments.

  • anne says:

    That might explain it, ginger. The first time my paragraph was erased I thought: "Maybe DM has established a new policy to erase sentences". After the third time, I got frustrated because I couldn't figure out DM's criteria to erase the same paragraph. I was not using slang at all.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Yes ginger, the less than sign is parsed as the beginning of an HTML tag and makes things get borked.
    anne, I think the problem with the preview function is known to the tech folks but I don't have any idea why it is not fixed yet. I can't give you any hope on that score, unfortunately. Best to avoid the preview if possible. I'm always happy to edit your comment if you drop me a line.

  • anne says:

    If that ever happen again, how can I drop you a line ?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    drugmonkey at scienceblogs dot com. as an informational note, most of the Sb blogs have a "contact" tab in the header which you can use to find an email address if it is not already in the profile sidebar bit...

  • Way late here, but yes, for most of what you blog about, I trust you. And I'm sure as you know, you don't have to know *who* someone is to have them establish themselves, over time, as an authority on a subject.
    And no, I never really think of it in terms of trust- which is just too religious of a concept for me. I think of it in terms of belief. Do I believe you, or not? When it comes to the NIH, the answer is always yes.

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