Internet & The Information Crisis

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posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 12:57 PM
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The Internet has been of great benefit to almost anyone. This is why its possible drawbacks are overlooked. One of the disadvantages of the Internet is that it is more difficult to discern between information, entertainment, advertisement and propaganda. In many cases, blurring the lines between fact and fiction, truth and lie, reality and irreality is actively sought.

Someone writes an article and posts it to a Blog, a Website or a Discussion-Board.

Is the article secretly being sponsored by a viral-marketing-campaign?
Is the article written with the hidden purpose of political spin?
Is it written to entertain and generate site-clicks?
Is it written to demonize or idolize something or someone?

Or is it actually written to inform tp the best of ones knowledge and truth-as-one-understands-it and for the educational benefit of mankind? There is no way of knowing for sure.

With the age of Internet, the dissemination of Information has become more democratic. But has it become more true? Does it pose a problem that every uneducated idiot with a Blog is now a publisher for Millions and that false information can spread at the speed of light? Is anything being done in school so that children learn about the responsible and fair use of the Internet?

How do you tell between Entertainment, Infotainment, Information, Propaganda?

Some argue that Blogs and News-Sites should not be anonymous. That if people had to post their real name along with the information they post, the information would be more responsible and truthful. Others argue that it should always be anonymous because then posting is more courageous and privacy is protected. I can see merit in both sides. What do you think?


[edit on 10-1-2010 by Skyfloating]




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:11 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Very timely, Sky...


How do you tell between Entertainment, Infotainment, Information, Propaganda?


This is, I feel, the most important part of the OP. How indeed do we tell the difference between facts, and fictions dressed up as fact?

I suppose you do it the same way we used to do it at the library back in the day before the rise of the interwebs... Research, multiple sources, and here's the kicker, a little unbiased thinking. Yep, thinking...open minded, non partisan, clear headed thinking.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:13 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Excellent post.

To me it is incredible the amount of validity that some give to this medium----particularly while bashing television in the same breath.

The Net can be excellent and useful, obviously. But exactly as an automobile or a firearm, it can be very destructive--or at least harmful---as well. I proposed on here long ago that the internet should be required to have a disclaimer displayed before logging on or reaching a service agreement: "Internet derived information often consists of user generated anonymous opinion and should be verified via independent sources before being taken as fact."Or some such.

A pity, some will say, that such an illustrative disclaimer might even be needed. Yet common sense dictates it would at least hopefully encourage a bit more critical thinking on any user's part.

While I am without doubt a huge fan of this medium its potential to misinform and misdirect can not be overstated.

My two cents.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



I think our reasoning skills become better developed when we have to weigh evidence and criteria. We learn the slight nuances that determine whether a source is biased or unbiased in their information. This exposure to learning how to reason, weigh, and verify, can eventually help us to pick out the liars when it's not obvious. We also learn skills of seeing through to the motive of propaganda and what the other side intends to gain from manipulating and directing people into a thought pattern or toward taking a specific action.

I think our brains are actually hard-wired for truth because we are always seeking it. And I think we become more discriminating when we find we have been lied to, cheated and abused...especially by those who were supposed to set an example as our "leaders" and "protecters".

[edit on 10-1-2010 by Alethea]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:24 PM
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"Research, multiple sources, and here's the kicker, a little unbiased thinking. Yep, thinking...open minded, non partisan, clear headed thinking."

I think this is something everyone should do before making any sort of "informed" decision or opinion. We are constantly bombarded with information, opinions, ideas, ideologies, and conflicts from the moment we are born. By the time someone is able to form their own opinions and questions on matters, their brains have to shuffle through so much of the muk they were fed from everyone they have ever met, that we are almost programmed to take one source of truth without even trying to see more then one side, or getting the full story.

Being open minded, in my opinion, is one of the most important things we as humans can exercise. Taking one blog or news story or tv show that is promoting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and believing it wholeheartedly, is a very dangerous thing to do.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:25 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



Originally posted by Skyfloating
How do you tell between Entertainment, Infotainment, Information, Propaganda?


I have come to the conclusion that when you really boil it down, for the most part, you can't.

With respect to your question of removing anonymity, I'm convinced that would change little.

Case and point.

[edit on 10-1-2010 by loam]


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posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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Has it ever been any different, even with the printed word?

I love books... so much it's almost erotic. The feel, the smell, the sound of quality paper, the weight in my hands. It's tactile and I have literally hundreds of titles at hand and I'd bet a thousand I've given away. I'm talking hardcovers, not paperbacks, because they're only good for the recycle bin.

ALL those books are mostly opinions and it is up to the reader to discern what's uselful, true and important... just like the internet.

Then there were newspapers, journals and magazines. They were even MORE prone to all the dangers of, as you say "blurring the lines between fact and fiction, truth and lie, reality and irreality".

As an active reader of everything that piques my interest ever since I was 7, the need to winnow the wheat from the chaff has been a constant concern. It's no different from the interwebs. Any sites which bemoan expenses and plead for donations is immediately ignored. That there are ads is fine with me in the same way that ads are expected in newspapers and 'zines. No biggie. I even click on some now and then.

The web has the potential to educate the world and the only controls are those imposed by governments with something to hide. Even in cases where the controls are the strictest, the web still allows leaks and that's good news. Think about the tidbits out of Iran and Tibet (among others) and you can see a new global freedom of speech evolving before your very eyes.

I'll put up with the BS people type online simply because I've been doing the same discernment with the printed word for 50 years.

Up the Interwebs.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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I've found the baloney detection kitPoint to be very helpful in wading through all the information available. it's not perfect, but helps

Point 1: How reliable is the source of the claim?
Point 2: Does the source make similar claims?
Point 3: Have the claims been verified by anybody else?
Point 4: Does this fit with the way the world works?
point 5: has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
Point 6: Where does the preponderance point?
Point 7: Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
Point 8: Is the Claimant using positive evidence?
Point 9: Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the Old theory?
Point 10:Are personal beliefs driving this claim?

Hope this helps as its helped me






posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 




Some argue that Blogs and News-Sites should not be anonymous. That if people had to post their real name along with the information they post, the information would be more responsible and truthful. Others argue that it should always be anonymous because then posting is more courageous and privacy is protected. I can see merit in both sides. What do you think?


I would like to address this singular question, as both a blogger and a consumer of information.

First and almost certainly the most important point is that what is being said is far more important than who is saying it. There are no barbed wire fences that prevent a liar from speaking the truth and none that demand that the honest person will not lie.

Trust is wholly overrated because it does not assure any standard that is above question. And if I may, that IS the whole issue here.

If we were to trust no single source of information to be, on its own, above reproach, then we would give all information the scrutiny it and we deserve to be sure that what we are told is indeed truth.

Who says what, is not nearly as important as what, is said by anyone.




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:03 PM
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Although I agree it brings information to the biggest audience in human history did idiots not once control press and books, laws made to decide what was allowed not allowed?

The internet without a doubt is full of every crack pot idea and theory one could want.

I think it just means we as the reader actually have to be carefull what we beleive and actually check for the facts ourselve before making a decision.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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If one is a student of history, asking these questions is a moot point.
Everything info related, is disseminated from somone's or something's viewpoint.

The old axiom of, believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear comes to mind.

Of course today you could change that to believe 25% of what you see because of the manipulation of video now.

I for one would think, being forced to be non anonymous, would cause more problems then it solved. The fear of speaking one's own mind in public and the censorship and other manipulations that is blatant in that venue, points to the crux of my position here.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 



How do you tell between Entertainment, Infotainment, Information, Propaganda?


Old fashioned research.

Simple concept that takes a lot of time and effort, but is really one of the fundamental concepts in topic research and should not/cannot be overshadowed by Google. I would be curious to know how many people have forgotten what it's like to actively research avenues other than the Internet? ... Books, journals, professional material... Who knows what the inside of an academic, historical, research or trade library looks like anymore? It comes down to too much information in too little time to sift through it. Most people will take what's easy to get and run with it... Sad really.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by seagull
open minded, non partisan, clear headed thinking.


Id agree that an unfiltered eye catches more than a filtered one.


Originally posted by Clark Savage Jr.
hopefully encourage a bit more critical thinking on any user's part.


I think the issue is taken too lightly, overall. Most will see gullibiity in others but themselves feel confident that they can tell info from misinfo. This over-confidence, that de-activates critical thinking, is uncalled for imo.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by Alethea
I think our brains are actually hard-wired for truth because we are always seeking it.


I hope so. Because for a moment there I thought our brains were hardwired to seeking entertainment, being right, being important, getting money and sex.

________________________________________________________________

I wonder: Is truth really important to anyone as the first priority anymore? If so, why or why not?


[edit on 10-1-2010 by Skyfloating]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 02:51 PM
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Originally posted by masqua
The web has the potential to educate the world and the only controls are those imposed by governments with something to hide. Even in cases where the controls are the strictest, the web still allows leaks and that's good news. Think about the tidbits out of Iran and Tibet (among others) and you can see a new global freedom of speech evolving before your very eyes.


The Freedom-of-Speech for all aspect is powerful. Its why we all embrace the Internet. But in our loving embrace any possible drawbacks are easily overlooked. Some of them havent even been considered yet - such as, what happens to the mind when it is preoccupied with 2-Dimensional-Screen-Reality rather than 3-Dimensional-Reality-and-Nature?

But thats a question for another thread.

Loved your description of reading books.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by redoubt

Who says what, is not nearly as important as what, is said by anyone.



Not sure about this one, Redoubt. To use a neutral example, we're all very likely to take dental advice from an a dentist and reject it from anon38xd4.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:23 PM
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Great thread! It is a big problem. Information is more readily available but there is no way to know who is behind the information. I do believe that news sights should not be allowed to hide the identities of those posting the info because too much info is wrong or inaccurate. At the same time someone that wishes to remain anonymous could post to a “Rumor Blog” or “Rumor Sight” and then responsible reporters could investigate the story and follow up leads without compromising the source. People that libel others should be held accountable on the internet just as they would be held accountable anywhere else. It’s a fine line and could destroy what we now know as the internet meaning the flow of information could be harmed but I believe accuracy is more important. And when it is wriiten it is usually with someones name attached so there is at least recourse.

[edit on 1/10/2010 by DJMSN]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by endisnighe
I for one would think, being forced to be non anonymous, would cause more problems then it solved. The fear of speaking one's own mind in public and the censorship and other manipulations that is blatant in that venue, points to the crux of my position here.


I wouldnt force being non-anonymous. Of course not. I´ll just say that anonymity is overrated. Its easy to spread slander while hiding behind it.

I used to think Anonymous is the way to go, because that way all information can come to light. In with things like WikiLeaks it does.

But remember back when this site had this "Anonymous Posting" thing? In thousands and thousands of posts there was not one special revelation that rocked the boat.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
The Freedom-of-Speech for all aspect is powerful. Its why we all embrace the Internet. But in our loving embrace any possible drawbacks are easily overlooked.


Absolutely. The net is chock-a-block with drawbacks and you've outlined a few of them very neatly in your OP. In particular, to me anyways, is viral marketing a scary phenom. It puts me in mind of Orson Welles and his original radio broadcast War of the Worlds. People commited suicide over that, apparently.


Some of them havent even been considered yet - such as, what happens to the mind when it is preoccupied with 2-Dimensional-Screen-Reality rather than 3-Dimensional-Reality-and-Nature?


Friday, I saw Avatar and last night watched a program about the coming of 3-D TV.


Print, in all its forms, has always been 2-dimensional. I can't really see a difference between what I see on a screen from what I see in a magazine for example.

If I were to speculate on what might have a great influence on minds, I'd have to look at gaming in particular. 3-D images of people, aliens or machines getting torn to shreds through the dexterity of ones aim and trigger finger can easily be seen to have a psychological effect on the users.

Before anyone flames me, I have my own Galaxians game from the '70's. I loved it then and I still do, so I'm not anti-gaming at all.

Another danger is using the internet to self-diagnose medical symptoms. I've done it myself and thought I was fine until things got worse and I had to visit the real doc.



[edit on 10/1/10 by masqua]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:30 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating

Originally posted by redoubt

Who says what, is not nearly as important as what, is said by anyone.



Not sure about this one, Redoubt. To use a neutral example, we're all very likely to take dental advice from an a dentist and reject it from anon38xd4.


Well, I was addressing the issue of the type of information we get from media/blog sources. I would not even suggest taking the advice of the street corner, amateur physician...

I do think we tend to often ignore a message based on who we get it from without a lot of thought to what the information may be.

Dentistry from an anonymous source? (Did you really say that? LOL!)





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