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 11:58:33 -0600

Steven Feldberg wrote:
> Tracy wrote:
> > If I believe I know the truth, I can say "this is true."
> Yes, of course. We all do that everyday. I guess what it boils down to is:
> once you have stated, "this is true," how well prepared are you to answer
> to, "How do you *know* this is true?" (This was, once upon a time, hammered
> into my head by a newspaper editor who threw that at me every time a fact
> was presented in one of my pieces, and has now been picked up by my kids :)

You mean "because I'm the dad" doesn't work? ;-)

OK, let's go back to _Fargo_ again. If you asked me how I knew it was
true, I'd say I knew it was true because the opening credits of the
movie itself said so. But in this case, my "verification" wouldn't mean
diddly. I may think I have flawless evidence, but it's still up to the
recipient to decide whether to believe it.

> BUT if you can answer, "because I read it in a Peter Lewis article in
> Tuesday's Times" or "because I went to the library, reviewed the patent
> records, and found to my satisfaction that so-and-so actually did invent
> the
> whatsit according to patent number 999 which was filed ....". If you can
> answer like that, the message recipient is no longer forced to rely on an
> on-the-fly assessment of your "belief" in what you're saying.

Yeah, but... ;-) I know a few people who will swear on a stack of bibles
that something is true because they read it in X, citing page and
paragraph. And often as not they're confused, mistaken, forgetful,
misled, lying... for whatever reason, they're just plain wrong. So I
guess I'm just a pessimist, or bullheaded, or both, but even when I'm
presented with evidence I still have to decide whether I trust this
person's evidence (and their skill, honesty, and common sense in
obtaining and reporting it).

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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