CHOICE membership

Encouraging meaningful discussions - what are your thoughts?

Brendan, per my previous :

As @phb suggests more specifically, finding the most appropriate topic category and subject title may help all concerned to make an informed decision as to whether the item is of interest or value. Being able to seek truth or exaggeration in news articles that address consumer interests may appeal to some. The cynics amongst us should feel free to bypass that step.

The requirement to provide a meaningful minimum amount of added original content to a post would be great.


That is a good start. If the item is important enough to bring up, then at least say why you think it is important. I am not suggesting that the initiator needs to be an expert on the subject, in some cases the purpose will be to ask for views from the more knowledgeable but there needs to be a reason given to ask the question if it is new.

I don’t see any mechanistic method of making this happen. Maybe the guidelines need to be expanded a little to refine focus. Perhaps they should give some guidance on what to do. So far they mainly say what not to do.


Perhaps the BS Buster category can add this as it is about debunking or affirming and what the “Is it True” seems to be is in that same vein, maybe a sub category under the BSB label?


I think if there is just a link shown with no prologue or epilogue given by the poster it seems a bit sterile . I’ve always tried to do a little commentary why I have used that link to encourage thought and discussion amongst the other forum users .

I think the " Is it True ? " category put forward by Peter is really good idea .


While it has become trite from over use in the last 2 years, especially by American comedians and commentators, ‘Is it true’ could be titled ‘News or Fake News’. But excepting for the title it does seem almost congruent with MythDefied though.


“Taking out the trash!”

Sometimes, what we see is a head line and a lead in story that are simply disconnected from the content.

In those instances is it more a concern due to misdirection, sensationalising, and click bait? The underlying story may have some alternate value, or as the ABC Media Watch often points out, is months or years old recycled content (slow news day)?

Do we intend to include items with those features, or capture and quarantine those items, or simply seek revenge on the perpetrators?

Last one for Brendan to consider? Eg a special annual shonky award for the most misleading consumer related news article. And some rules that any post of suspect items needs to come with a suitable reasoned written expose as a prequalificafion.

P.s. I already have my headline prepared, if only the press can help out by picking the story line up:
“Cancer causing hazards found on the dark side of the moon, Chinese Space exploration - we reveal the secrets to staying safe from cancer causing radiation!” I lack imagination!


Maybe a ‘is it worth reading’ category where we have a daily or weekly roster of victims who have to follow the link on behalf of us all and post a quick reply of at most 3 characters indicating their answer …:rofl:


Hello Brendan. I am not able to visit here very often these days, so I am not as up-to-date as I once was. But I have not felt frustrated by anything in this forum. On the other hand, I tip my hat to you for your very professional moderation here, and for the private guidance which you offered to me in my early days of posting here. Thank you greatly. Similarly, I am just blown away by the DEPTH as well as the WIDTH of knowledge on so many topics by so many of the regular contributors here. For so many of you, I applaud the way that you must voluntarily give us so much of your own time in writing your reasoned and well-informed responses in this forum. Huge thanks to each of you too. And finally for some negativity – NOT regarding this forum, but from a petition on imported honey, where the poster tells a VERY disturbing story of having been threatened by a Choice employed staff member when he tried to discuss his issues with her. The online responses showed great dissatisfaction that attitude.
I re-iterate that this last comment is NOT intended as any sort of negative comment about this Forum or how it operates. I wish a Happy New Year to all of you; and again I thank the wonderful contributors to discussions in here. Kind regards. Raymond.


Yes please, lets have meaningful discussion where all the relevant facts can be put on the table for consideration. Today we seem to be plagued by many who will not discuss their shallow preconceived views based on some mantra or ethos they support. Unfortunately, our current bunch of pollies are unable to ‘see the truth’ that open, frank and honest holistic discussion can bring and sway away from these solid well conceived views to follow the populist shallow mantra and the country will be damaged as a result.


I love the forum as it does address a lot of issues that we all seem to have at some point in our lives. Having said that I wonder if we could categorize and preface each feed as either: Query, Answer, Comment or Personal Experience. Maybe it would let us skim through the topics and minimise some of the things that not really important. Looking forward to 2019 and thanks to the staff at Choice.


My 5c:

  1. Perhaps a system like good old Slashdot (if it can be done with Discourse plugins) to allow users to award points to good comments or penalties for bad comments, and a default filter level which excludes comments below a level of good?

  2. Re Is it True, issue is different personal opinions. One person’s conspiracy theory is another person’s believed truth. Eg Capilano honey, smart power meters.


very refreshing to hear and see statements as such. choice has always been a great source of info. The discussion initiative was and is a fantastic way to hear more in depth what the community has to say and their misadventures, issues, advice, experience in the world of consumerism.
thanks for a great forum with so many friendly and knowledgeable people.


Sincere thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts here. I’m happy to announce that we have a new category called ‘Is it true?’ that we will trial. Currently it is listed as a sub-category under MythDefied, where a lot of our myth busting and fact finding already occurs.

The difference with ‘Is it true?’ is that this category is focused on fake news, clickbait or otherwise misleading messages that can be found across all types of media these days. The full group description is here. We’ll be be offering the new Fact finder badge for those who provide answers in this category.


^^ I like this idea too. My only thought was that it might lead to the forum being used for news aggregation, and I think there is already a few sites/services doing this fairly well. However, I’m open to more discussion on the idea (and any other ideas people have, there’s no time limit on this thread).

Regarding the character limits, the Discourse software used to operate this forum does allow us to set character limits, but the limits will not distinguish between posts with URLS and without. Most posts are conversational, and setting a limit that would force commentary when posting a URL would create a high bar for those who wish to leave a short reply in posts that do no not contain URLs. We will have a look into the plug ins @benhelps posted above. It does create a dev hurdle for us, not that the plug ins are that hard to install but that sometimes they create other errors with our themes. Anyway, it’s certainly not insurmountable.

In the meantime, we can always encourage discussion by asking questions and adding our own points of view.

@ray15, thank you for the kind words. I can assure you that CHOICE staff wouldn’t threaten people anywhere online, but we do sometimes have problems with other groups either impersonating us or making false statements about our organisation. I think this may be covered in this topic thread here, but I’m always happy to touch base on the topic and discuss further.

Another idea that has been floated is a category to discuss ‘consumer design’. In this category we could go over the pros and cons of the design of products, from excess or poorly thought-out packaging to the useability of apps and websites. Would be interested to hear thoughts on this, and please keep the ideas coming.


Fake News, Misinformation, Clickbait, can be addressed when the consumer has the ‘tools’ to identify, evaluate and present their findings. Media/Information literacy is a skill, a teachable subject that can be ‘taught’ formally and incidentally starting with primary school aged children.
Sharing the tools we as individuals have, employing appropriate vocabulary, swapping and exploring ideas and options is a collective way that we as consumers, can build on. As a teacher librarian, Information and Media Literacy has not kept up with the exploding growth of Digital Literacy. ‘Google it’, once the first and only step, should now be just the tiniest part of researching for authenticity, proof, etc. ‘Is this true’ is a starting idea, frankly I use Snopes when checking out the possibility of Fake News, but of course this is not necessarily definitive. The more the forum engages in meaningful discussions does expand the knowledge base but ultimately it is the consumers responsibility to read, evaluate and then make any decisions or conclusions.


Having done all this, is the consumer certain to make the best decision?

Not all consumers have access to the same information. Is it a 90 year olds problem that they are not online literate or part of Faceplant, sorry Facebook?

Consumer laws serve many purposes, and despite many shortcomings are there because the consumer cannot always reliably make the best decision. And because that while a consumer may act responsibly not all businesses act responsibly.

A poor decision by a customer should not excuse a retailer from supplying an underperforming product because the customer failed to read, evaluate and decide to a high standard?

I’m not so sure there is just one path to the holy grail of consumer enlightenment and wisdom.


No but without good information they cannot. Good information is a necessary but not sufficient condition to good decision making. We try to assist in providing it, if it isn’t ultimately effective that is no reason to not try.


That is a truism no matter what the context or topic. From buying shonky merchandise to electing rorting grubs. It is impossible to protect people from themselves when they either will not or are not equipped to take some responsibility for their choices. Those in the margins who are unable may need some assistance, but at the societal level what are you asking for by implication? Guarantees about life itself?

It is 2019 and the origin of trade was an indeterminate number years prior. Dodgy trading inevitably started that far back, or at least when fiat currency became common. There have been, are, and will remain those without scruples who are happy to take advantage of others, laws or not.

Thus recourse is a basic legal remedy, but that requires consumer education on legal topics such as the ACL, on products, and on the best available supposedly honest and accurate reviews of businesses as well as on products.

Forums such as and eg consumer oriented legislation are adding to the consumers ‘arsenal’ but reality is.


I was actually referring to the consumer that makes use of the information that is available through this forum, not the public in general. So if tools, and language are available to evaluate and assess, the consumer can decide whether of not they are making an informed decision.
It goes without saying that the responsibilities and expectations we have of manufacturers should be of high standard, but this is unrealistic. Again, we as consumers need to know the right language to ‘own our learning’. I see it as a 2 pronged approach in making us better consumers which is turn will support better manufacturing.


:clap::clap::clap: Totally agree with you here @khitchen. While there are many of us reaping great benefit to the torrents of information and interconnectivity to which we now have access, it’s my feeling that many others are struggling to understand and critically assess the information they are receiving, struggling to perceive and uphold etiquette online, failing to keep pace with the tools and so on. This is to the detriment of individual health and wellbeing, and it’s clearly having an impact on a societal level.

Hopefully we can play a small role as part of the remedy to those problems.


This is possibly the most challenging thing to do, in the online world. For most topics of interest, there can be dozens of different views or opinions which can blanket out factual information from reliable or established sources. Many of these topics have surfaced here on this forum from time to time.

Unfortunately in today’s age there is an underlying trend against mainstream, government or factual science due to the powerful antiestablishment groups. This means any views/opinions no matter how bizarre are likely to get mileage especially if they contradict the existing establishment. Even ‘celebrities’ views can be seen as more reliable than those with decades of firsthand research and experience.

Fortunately this forum many members don’t seem to have antiestablishment or conspiracy tendencies and are willing to flesh out the information available and provide responses which more than not, are factual, balanced and correct.

Choice should be congratulated on this as it does gives one the opportunity to become better informed about things in an environment which generally has more rigor and robust debate, than many other similar forums.