How to qualify trust

Alice LaPlante asks How Trustworthy Is The Web? at InformationWeek. What prompted this was a number of attacks on Wikipedia despite an article in Nature that indicated its error rate was lower than the Encyclopedia Britannica. What some folks think they notice is an excess faith in the information they find.

In other words, there’s a growing reliance on blind faith to make often-critical decisions.

This is a well established phenomena. For instance, it has long been known that people tend to place a high credibility in the written word being true. A Pew study indicated that

Only 25 percent of Americas who already use the Web to get health advice check the sources and dates of the data they find there.

But all you have to do is to study sales and marketing and you can learn about this and how it can be used to make a sale.

What this really says is that people tend to believe what they want to believe and don’t want to go to much effort to validate what they do find out.

what can we do–perhaps through education, watchdog groups, and better search technology–to help improve our ability to separate the informational wheat from the chaff?

This question is really asking how can we change people. How can we make them practice due dilligence? When you look at some of the expensive mistakes that some insist on making, it doesn’t give much hope.

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