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It’s a Fact: Opinions Are Not Facts

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12 Feb It’s a Fact: Opinions Are Not Facts

social mediaMy children had a school assignment the other day. They needed to read a passage and then determine if the sentences describe an opinion or a fact. They looked for clues in the sentences, for phrases like “I think dogs are cute” (opinion) and “cats have four paws” (fact).

I think that makes them better than 80% of the folks using the internet today. <– [WARNING! OPINION JUST USED!]

Let me step back a bit first, perhaps this will make more sense to you afterwards.

I learned at an early enough age that you should never try to be exactly like someone else. If you did then you would always feel like you were second best, and that would always leave you frustrated. Instead of trying to be like one person, you should find the bits and pieces of many persons that resonated deep within yourself. When you pull them together those bits and pieces define you, and you can stop worrying about being like someone else and focus on being yourself.

OK, back to why I am writing this post. This is what I want you to take away after reading:

Don’t listen to me

The things I write here on this blog are my experiences based upon facts I aggregated from other sources and opinions I’ve formed after more than a decade of managing data and databases in the real world.

These experiences are just that: mine. They aren’t yours. You should have your own.

If you blindly take everything I write here, all the scripts I share as “facts” without discovering for yourself what works best for you then you are stopping short of being a complete “you”.

Seriously, don’t listen to me.

Take what you find here and discover for yourself what works best for you.

I read a lot of books and blogs. I see a lot of advice out there. I see lots of “facts” that are just opinions in disguise.

What I also see are people who blindly listen. People who follow someone because they have lots of opinions and a blog. People who assume that all vendor documentation is perfect. People who assume that what was best for one situation is best for all other possible situations. People that assume what works well on one version of a product works well on others. People who trust that opinions are really facts. People that never take the time to verify if the facts are true. People that don’t understand there could be something better if they only looked a little bit deeper.

Opinions are not facts, and having a blog like this doesn’t make my opinions and experiences better than yours.

When surfing the internet looking for advice on something don’t stop at the first source you find. Try these methods that I have found to serve me well:

Find more than one website with unique content about your topic or questions – Lots of times websites and blog posts are “borrowed”, which leads to the proliferation of bad advice. It also means that Page 1 of the Google can return nothing but links that are essentially a cut and paste of each other. You need to find original sources.

Do a “reverse search” – Whatever it is you were searching for, and found, do another search but for the contrary point of view. See if anyone has written about the same topic but their experiences have led them to a different conclusion. For example, if you searched for “drinking milk is good” (which is TOTALLY an opinion, trust me on that) do another search for “drinking milk is bad”.

Take your time – Don’t rush your research. It can take some time for you to gather details. It seems these days everyone wants an answer within three minutes (or less) and as a result we don’t bother taking the time or making the effort to learn a bit more or ask a few probing questions.

Now, go and find out what works best for you.

  • http://www.straightpathsql.com Mike Walsh

    Great thoughts! This is actually one of the reasons I started blogging a long time ago (No.. I’m not saying all of my posts are facts that should be trusted, they’re on the internet!) but I saw some horrible answers and comments in various forums that lead people astray because they were presented as facts. Great reminder here (not just about SQL either! 😉 ) Took me back about 4 years to one of my first blog posts about Empirical Evidence -http://www.straightpathsql.com/archives/2009/01/empirical-evidence/

    • ThomasLaRock

      Exactly. We can all use a reminder every so often about the value of doing some proper research. The easy path is not always the right path.

  • http://twitter.com/thesqlpro Ayman El-Ghazali

    How to decipher facts from “The Office” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utu5SnO9PIg

  • http://twitter.com/thesqlpro Ayman El-Ghazali

    Now for a serious question on your opinion: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb677181.aspx

    The picture in the middle of the page has an interesting flow for upgrading to SQL 2012 in an environment with Mirroring. With regards to upgrading a server that has Automatic Failover, I feel that after all upgrades are done, the Witness should be added back to establish a automatic failover. Why would you add the witness server back before you upgrade the “new” mirror server.

    Let’s say Server1 is Principal, Server2 is Mirror, Server3 is witness.
    Seems like the flow should be:

    1. Remove Witness (Server3)
    2. Upgrade Mirror (Server2)
    3. Failover to Mirror (Server1–> Server2 Mirror now becomes principal and is running SQL 2012)
    4. Upgrade the “new” Mirror to SQL 2012 (Server1)
    5. Failback (Server2–>Server1)
    6. Put back the Witness (Server3) to resume Auto-failover

    (Upgrade Server3 while it is out of quorum)

    Your thoughts? I just can’t see putting a witness back in an environment that is mixed between SQL 2012 and 2008 for fear that an auto-failover would cause problems if it were to occur.

    • ThomasLaRock

      I agree with you, I would not put the witness back until the last step.

  • Mala

    Great post, Tom. Really like what you say on ‘reverse search’…was averse to that for a very long time. Love the line’ TOTALLY an opinion, trust me on that’..:)

  • http://twitter.com/BrewerAdam Adam Godfrey

    “I think that makes them better than 80% of the folks using the internet today”

    I always like to remind people to be careful with statistics because 95% of them are made up on the spot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.aldridge.921 David Aldridge

    “I think dogs are cute” would be a fact — “Dogs are cute” is an opinion.

    No?