I've noticed for the past few years on the former Discussion Digest and more recently in a few of the forums (not necessarily ours) that people will report their magnitude estimate on a star from their most recent estimate, possibly evens hours old. It used to be that if we mentioned our estimate that we would be gently rebuked NOT to give our estimate because it will bias other observers.
What are your thoughts on this? Is this a change in thinking throughout AAVSO, or should we be careful not to give any tips on the estimate of the star?
For example, let's just says I put a post on the forum tonight that SS Cyg is 9.1 magnitude. Now let's say an observer, especially not as an experienced observer read that. They go out to look at SS Cyg, and say "Oh Ya, I estimate it to at 9.1 or 9.2". John Bortle may look and get it at 8.6, or he may even find I screwed up and SS Cyg is still at minimum, around 12.2. I just caused some observers to send in erronious data into Web Obs.
See what I mean? I'd like to hear your comments on this. Perhaps we could give safer comments like "SS Cyg seems to be brightening". That will stimulate observers to go out and look, yet not automatically think that Stephan is an experienced observer so his estimate must be pretty accurate.
We never want bias in science.
The reason I brought this up is because I saw this exact thing on another forum post today. Is it acceptable now? I want to make sure us visual people do not get biased. Let me hear from you. Thanks.
Robert Clyde Observatory
Sebring, Florida USA