What is TFS?
Well, Springer pretty much summed it up well. The Fair Skeptics (TFS) is a currently incubating organization that
aims to provide user-presented cases with a fair and unbiased review of case evidence for various categories as yet to be fully determined.
Example 1: Timmy snaps a photo of what appears to be a UFO, and has a corresponding narrative to go with it (timeframe, location, etc.) He'd like
some people to take a look at the photo to confirm or deny it's UFOiness (I just made that word up), but is worried that half the members on ATS will
just immediately cry "photochop!!!" without even so much as glancing at the picture, and he's worried the other half will lavish unwarranted
accolades and experiences about being in personal contact with his UFO that very minute.
What's a Timmy to do?
...dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun! (dramatic music entirely neccessary)
The Fair Skeptics is group of a little less than 30 people whom have agreed to try and suspend bias as much as possible and use the scientific method
as it applies to the evidence to either confirm or deny the veracity of the evidence, and presenting those conclusions in a replicable and
understandable and above-all, fair format.
Example 2: TFS ends up having 10 or so members volunteer to review Timmy's case. The reviewer qualifications range the gamut from Forensics
Investigators to Test Pilots to Aerospace Engineers to Digital Imaging Professionals. They take the available data, the available evidence, and then
apply their own investigative talents and skills and resources. Someone might even literally drive out on site to investigate the area, take samples,
interview the witness, etc... we haven't decided the depths to which the investigation will go quite yet, but those have been some suggestions.
The end result is a detailed analysis of all the factors involved in the case, and then a conclusion by each individual. It is not a foolproof system,
and being as we're all human beings, it probably never will be. However, we're going to try really hard to as close as possible.
Members with pre-existing biases to a specific subject will be encouraged to not participate unless they are actively attempting to overcome their own
biases via science. For TFS is not just a service to case presenters, it's a service to each other to try and teach and encourage each other how to
further remove bias from serious investgation into any subject. We also largely police our own, and should a member get particularly out of line,
they'll be whacked...er...dealt with.
Why all the privacy right now?
It started off as an open registry, but then we suddenly realized three things:
TFS has amazing potential as a worldwide investigative peer group.
Non-Members very much wanted to tell us how to run TFS.
Many people are quite fond of drama and perpetuating it in-thread.
As a whole, we pretty much figured that we liked potential, but weren't fond of drama or unaffiliated overseers. So we closed the registry, moved it
to a different thread, and the drama continued. So founding membership was reduced a bit, and the organization made into a private forum to prevent
further drama while we got our ducks in a row.
Once we've gotten all our ducks facing the same direction and organized, we will open for business and begin reviewing cases upon request on a
first-come, first-served basis.
What kind of cases will TFS review?We started off with just UFO cases, but it looks like we might be expanding into a variety of
subjects including cryptozoology, paranormal, conspiracies, etc. However, as I previously mentioned, we're still incubating and deciding a lot of
this stuff, so this is all subject to change. However, it looks like we'll be covering multiple categories of case.
I can say with pretty good certainty, however, that in order to be reviewed, each case will need to have a factual data narrative (Who, What, When,
Where, etc...), and some sort of "evidence" to verify. We would love to be able to review every single case, but unsubstantiated claims are far too
numerous, and there is nothing to apply the scientific method to, because we need data to test yes/no questions on.
So, how are conclusions going to be presented?For instance, that the UFO shows no support structures such as string or glass,
using filters A, B, C, and D, that it appears to be size X, at height Y, shows atmospheric haze, local police blotter records indicate other call-ins
regarding the phenomena, local weather reports showed no lenticular cloud formations, air-traffic overhead was non-existant, and so forth. Each fact
and method will have a list of references (for info) or steps to duplicate (for analysis). These are all binary facts that can be given a solid yes/no
answer that are divorced from bias as much as possible. The end result may end up offering a conclusion, based off of the findings of info and
analysis of the data, as to whether or not it is a hoax, but from what I've seen so far, most members will simply present their findings and allow
others to make up their own minds.
When will we know?As soon as we're open for business, it'll be announced where and how cases may be submitted. If you want
further details you can ask in-thread, I'd be happy to answer whatever I can. However, if you're wanting to invoke drama, tell us how to run TFS, or
complain about some unrelated incident from the past before TFS was even an idea, you can feel free to click the "back" button and choose a
different thread. This may sound a bit obvious and/or nasty, but considering two threads in a row got jacked before we went private, I'm operating
on minimal tolerance of drama.