FlashFlood

writing about writing

Internet Credibility

Posted by Flood on May 26, 2006

In the wake of the Agent vs. Writer's Forum scandal, I've been thinking a lot about internet credibility. I wanted to discuss it with you, but I am no expert. So, I googled around and found this internet credibility worksheet from a High School. I should probably keep it taped to my monitor at all times.

It's easy to spot a less credible website or blog by poor html, spelling errors, that kind of thing, but sometimes a site can make a claim that may feel true, but isn't. I have a feeling that the Writer's Forum has a right to be incensed, but I can't prove that.

I've become motivated to take a more critical eye to what I read on the net, lately. I know everything on the internet is not true. I never send back chain e-mails, I rarely read compilations of "Wacky World Laws" and I don't take everything I read at Wikipedia as gospel. Yet, I still catch myself repeating something I've read on a site that either I didn't confirm, or the author left little evidence that he did his homework. It just felt like the information was good or it suited a point I had to make. Maybe the site had no animated .gifs, which is a sure sign of total honesty. Maybe, when the page loads, a terrifying midi does not play. You know. Indications that the knowledge contained therein can be taken seriously.

The worksheet requires kids to ask themselves some serious questions when getting information online. I'm going to make it a habit to ask myself the same questions, every time I use the internet as a resource instead of a toy. While I become an cyber librarian who bogs herself down in proof that Snopes knows what they are talking about, can you describe a time when a website fooled you?

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