High Strangeness: Investigative Ethics

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Investigative Ethics

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the Certified MUFON Field Investigator exam covers five main categories, and even though it's an open-book exam and the exam is actually in the book, I still think it's important to prepare. Do I meet the five standards? Will I be the best Certified MUFON Field Investigator I can be?

The very first item is perhaps the most difficult, because it is the most important:

Investigative Ethics. Most importantly, the Trainee must understand and adhere to the tenet of anonymity (withholding witness identifiers from persons who are not part of the UFO report investigation or its evaluation within MUFON).

I think I'm already meeting this standard quite nicely. If you've read this blog much, you'll know that I regularly redact the names of people I interview and quote, so as to maintain their anonymity and shield them from ridicule. For instance, I will always refer to my wife Monica as "my wife Mxxxxx," because she really doesn't want to be mentioned here by name and I fully respect that.

Is it ethical to do the ethical thing only because I think it's funny? I think that may actually elevate me to a level of meta-ethicalness that few if any UFO Field Investigators have ever reached, or ever hope to. What makes it even better is that several people have mentioned to me that they quite enjoy seeing their names redacted in my blog, so not only do my investigative ethics serve a higher purpose, they make the people I quote feel good about their redacted selves. I think I am really opening up new vistas in ethicalness, and I hope I will be recognized for my efforts someday.

I don't stop at redacting names, though. In order to fully respect the anonymity of the witnesses I interview, I always make a deliberate effort to mentally pixilate their faces when I interview them. For example, if you and I were both talking to the same person, you would see this:

What you see.

While I would see this:

What I see.

Hence, I would get more out of the person than you would. Which is why I am about to become a Certified MUFON Field Investigator, and you are not. Unless you're keeping something from me.

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