Re: Credibility of the Internet (was: User-centered design)

Subject: Re: Credibility of the Internet (was: User-centered design)
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 08:32:00 -0600

Steven Feldberg wrote:

> And, true, while ``anyone'' can post on
> this list, don't you think it's appropriate that when those doing the
> posting are _technical communicators_ they practice a modicum of
> information hygiene in posting, *as well as* in reading?

If you mean only posting things you *know* to be true -- well, I'm sure
every person who posted that info "knew" it was true. Haven't you ever
"known" something, been 100% sure your information was accurate, and
later found out you were wrong? I have.

Obviously everyone on this list can (and, IME, generally *does*) use an
appropriate disclaimer when they're not *entirely* sure of something. So
it does no good to point out they should have done so when clearly they
*would* have if they hadn't been so sure their information was reliable.
It's like instructing students to put a question mark at the end of
their test answers when they're not sure if they're correct... if I
didn't think it was correct, I wouldn't have said it in the first place.
Well, perhaps that's a bad example (as Tracy suddenly has flahsbacks to
her algebra class! ;-) Here's a better one: You're watching the movie
_Fargo_. Right there on the screen it says "this is based on a true
story." So later, when someone rhetorically wonders where the Coen
brothers get their ideas for movies, would you say "I read it was based
on a true story, but that might not be true?" Or would you, secure in
your knowledge, say, "Oh, it's based on a true story." It turns out it's
not true... the statement was a mood-setter or joke, depending on who
you ask. But if you knew in your heart it was true, would *you* tell
people it "might" be true?

<joke> Anyone who believes everything they read on the Internet deserves
whatever happens to them anyway... survival of the fittest, you know...

Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Curriculum & Instructional Materials Center
Stillwater, Oklahoma

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