Creating accuracy, online

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in | Posted on 1:15 PM

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I can't type that without wincing, though I am signed up as a beta editor on hypothes.is for the arts and social sciences in an attempt to contribute to creating accuracy online.

It's something of a truism, if you spend enough time online, that the freedom to say a lot is not typically used as the freedom to say a lot accurately (I'm looking at you, Fox News.) While I believe the internet is an amazing, wonderful tool for disseminating information, most people don't have the time to sift through millions of links of potential bullshit looking for accuracy.

We tend to just pick a few trusted sources and call it a day.

That's what makes Dan Schultz's project so invaluable; all over the web, a series of experiments are being carried out, by organizations such as wikipedia, Creative Commons and wikileaks, in creating communities of enforced, accurate information. For all the academic critiques of wikipedia (mainly that there's no consistent expert oversight, which is not typically correct), it remains a trusted and often used resource for general information (wikipedia fails in some discipline specific ways.)

Schultz's project is invaluable precisely because it automates that process, allowing for more individual entries to be checked and indexed. This could create a database or quick index for researchers to use to check the accuracy of political statements (the conceived of use appears to mostly concern political speech.)

Obviously, the ability to check accuracy is limited to what can be found online, and to what the programmer uses as a rubric for 'true' or 'accurate,' but I find the idea highly encouraging.

After all, I volunteered to do it the hard way.

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