Saturday, July 10, 2010

Best Perspective

While reading a series of posts at the Political Science Jobs Rumor Mill, I realized that a key rule from Ultimate is really quite appropriate most of the time.

Ultimate is a self-refereed game, and, unless observers are used to adjudicate line calls and the like, the calls on the field are made by the players on the field (despite my repeated temptations to make calls from the sideline).  Well, who makes that call?  The one with the best perspective.  It might be the player who caught the disk and actually saw his or her foot land in bounds.  But if the receiver was focused on catching the disk, then the person with the best perspective might be the person covering the receiver.  Or someone else entirely who was not involved in the catch.  This requires an expectation of honesty (unlike the University of Central Florida).  And, in ultimate, contested calls lead essentially to do overs.  So, if folks disagree about who has best perspective, then we do the play over. 

Anyhow, I was struck by this when folks were opining about something about which they obviously knew little but contesting folks who were much closer to the controversy du jour.  But, of course, an online posting place with heaps of anonymity is going to have lots of people make assessments despite having a poor perspective.  This is nothing new, but just much faster and more visible than old rumor-mongering.  As always, a big grain of salt is required.

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