Information Pollution (in Debates)
I made a post on this topic a couple years ago on my little blog (sorry no link, it's un-pg). I was thinking that the idea of information pollution is something that most anyone on the internet can see, simply by doing a simple web search.
So my simple question is this: Is the internet more or less useful as a result of everyone being able to post anything they want, as much as they like, all the time on the internet?
It's definitely more "useful". But I doubt if I'd say that we are really better off because of it.
You get the same dribble via personal encounters with people in the real world... Nobody knows anything. Even more dangerously is that they don't know that they don't know :P
Far as usefulness of information, I guess ya just have to look at who's providing the information. Find something on some random site, and it's just as reliable as what the guy at the bus stop told you yesterday... Meanwhile, find a trusted site and the information will be more like having your health questions answered by a doctor in the particular field...
Unfortunately, money makes the world go round, so most sites are setup like auto garages, and will tell ya anything you want or need to hear to get you to spend some money...
i too feel that information pollution has always been there. you would, and still do, hear rumor as fact. what the internet has given us is the ability to check for ourselves and with some digging get the truth.
i think this overall has a dampening effect on the rumors. many still repeat them because they fit into what they want to believe, but many others will confront those same people with the truth. once that happens, i feel that the one confronted probably stops regurgitating that rumor at least.
with the advent of text messaging and social networking sites, the rumors do get a turbo boost, but i think they also die faster due to the above. it is all very interesting and different, but not necessarily worse!
May 10 2009 11:39 AM EDT
I think the wide amount of information available far makes up for any possible inaccuracies. If you get multiple sources for something, then you have a pretty small chance of misinformation. (As long as one isn't plagiarized by the other). If you look at wikipedia, it's grown far more than any purely professional source could make. I remember reading about a study on this, which said that wikipedia's pages had about 3 times the inaccuracies than professional encyclopedias, but considering how much work goes into making professional encyclopedias that's not actually a bad number. Wikipedia still becomes far more useful because of the massive amount of coverage that it has. No encyclopedia can tell you important statistics about the movie that came out a month ago. It can be far more topical, hence useful.
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