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Sources Sources Everywhere but are they ever used?

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posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 12:40 PM
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This is a rant whose time has come. If you don't like my rant, there is a little arrow on the top of your browser bar and it points left. Clicking on it will cause your screen to reverse to it's last page of display. That is probably the best course of action in that case....as I'm one steamed bunny!


Sources...... What are Sources? Sources are the places, people and texts we refer to in building a thread, a story or a good reply. Sources are as much what is used in college as what is used in Blogland. What is a source though? What makes a source and why does it matter? Ahhh... I'll bet the academics out there would love to see me drop into a lengthy and proper explanation while those I'd HOPE would read this have already yawned once and started inching toward that back button.


WAKE UP ! ! !



I saw those droopy lids...and this is important!

The site we all know and love has a fever ....and it's a fever of laziness coupled with a simple lack of caring enough to try.

I want to take a moment here and, as best I can from my understanding of how things work and don't work, explain how I look at all this and at least one reasonable view of the problem.

The Hierarchy Of Story Sourcing - The 4 Rungs of Credibility


*-* Authority

*-* Solid Source

*-* Reference

*-* Opinion



So what does all that mean? Well, you go from the top of Authority which is something at the level of quality fit to write a story based entirely on information from ......to Opinion. A moment to define those is needed.

___________________________________


Authority: Authority is an Originating source of material. For example, if you are writing a thread about the Unemployment situation in the United States and chose as your main data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics? You've chosen Authority to cite. This is a Government Agency dedicated to the sole purpose of collecting, analyzing and producing statistics blindly reporting that area for the U.S. Federal Reports. There is not a source ABOVE that one they draw from beyond raw data itself. ...they personally collect or have delivered, the raw data they work from and the raw data is collected to their specification. That defines an Authority, in my opinion. When all comes FROM within them and there is NO higher source to refer to......you have an Authority to use.

*____*


Source: Sources are the most commonly used and most challenging to define. It's not hard to say what they ARE..,.but limit to what they ARE NOT. Everything from CNN to someone's Uncle Goober is quoted as a "source" these days and it's absurd! UNCLE GOOBER ISN'T A SOURCE!! I had to think harder than normal to come up with a logical and workable definition here. I've chosen to go with a common sense approach rather than anything "technicalese" in wording.


A Source can best be defined as a person, organization or data collection that is widely accepted and acknowledged as credible. When citing a source, personal opinion of it's value is irrelevant. 100% irrelevant. If those reading your words don't consider the source credible, then it won't matter how much time or work or effort you put into it. Your words won't be accepted as accurate or valuable in a discussion. With that in mind, a good researcher or contributor will look at source credibility first from the perspective of the OPPOSITION in the debate. After all, if that group laughs at the source, the debate ended before it began and all was for nothing more than poor practice.


In the case of stories across MSM and our current events, I'll go one step further to say that the level of source credibility MUST rise in direct proportion to the degree of personal meaning or impact which stories may have on those reading them. I recently did a lengthy thread on Chief Joseph and some of the last of the Native Americans who roamed free across the land. I know ATS has Native Americans. My thread was not in ANY WAY debate or controversy based.

However, that audience would know the topic matter better than I do ...and the topic itself is emotional. So, the need to use the very best was determined not by a desire to max the Star Lines and Flag Count.......but to do justice to a topic and honor to those who would read it.

In Outright debate? I'd adjust the last line above to read "......but to do justice to a topic and be correct AS WELL as right." (Those two things are very different....and the lack of seeing a difference is part of what causes this fever I think ATS has had recently)

*____*


Reference: References come below sources and are the places we go to first on a story. At least most of us do. These are the places you get the basic outline and general facts before going to verify things, learn the full details and determine what IS factual and what is NOT. References include places like Wikipedia and News Aggregation sites such as Drudge Reports, Martinez Report, Hot Air and BreakingNews.

References are defined on two ways and they are clear.

First, is a bit subjective but no less clear in result all can see and know. It's first defined as those 'sources' your opposition in a debate or those a story is written for do not or will not accept as a credible place to get information from. If I were to write a Tome about the evils of the Democratic Party and first went to the Republican National Committee archives for data, I would be using a reference, not a source. I might see it as a source.....but opposition in the topic wouldn't accept it as even a reference if openly cited. So....it's a place to start from not end with.

Second, References are easily and clearly defined by those places which source everything THEY post. In Wikipedia's case, every line is usually cited and numbered. Wikipedia is a reference. The citations at the BOTTOM of a Wikipedia entry are possible sources. Drudge Report headlines form a reference. They link to sources. (sometimes...gotta check the links on a case by case,

*____*


Opinion: The first thing to note is that I am NOT separating Personal, Professional, Educated, Idiotic or half ass from each other. Opinion is Opinion. If an INDIVIDUAL is taken by the audience of readers as credible, the opinion will be accepted that way. If not? No degree of accuracy to an opinion will make any difference whatsoever. None. A PhD can site a moron off the street for an opinion and a Moron can cite a Doctor. Opinion is generally worthless outside of relaying DIRECT AND PERSONAL experience because it's credibility is 100% subjective and changes radically to each person reading. Therefore, opinion is great for background, explanation and context......but it's absolutely meaningless in presentation of fact for an audience doesn't take the writer or his cited opinion as expert or at least knowledgeable in.

Cont...
edit on 24-12-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 12:40 PM
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To summarize for those who don't have the time, text friendly device or just don't feel like reading one of my lengthy threads today..I can summarize here quickly.

Authority : They didn't report the news... They weren't merely a part of the news... They personally MADE the news and it's their job.

Source: A place OTHERS see as credible as much as you do.

Reference: A place YOU see as credible and no one else really does. (Start here..NEVER end here...and find a source to make it real!
)

Opinion: Everyone has one of these, much like a part of the human anatomy in the nether regions. Likewise, opinions are frequently full of solid waste and solid B.S. until sourced to show it's someone ELSE's B.S. and not yours.


We participate, contribute and for some, spend a great deal of time here. We all have our own reasons for that and for most, the reasons are probably more interesting than much of what is written. Whatever the reason though, we exist in a world here that is 100% of our own making as a User Contributed site in every way. If contributions suck? The site sucks. If contributions are Golden? The site is Golden. It's as simple as life and reality ever gets.

Lets work together here to help make this little home away from home online as Golden as it can be for the coming year. Lets work together to help restore that little magic something that make threads here something people are proud to send links to non-ATS members about......not secretly hope they don't find somehow.

In short, lets redouble our efforts to CHECK those sources...or find good ones to begin with as we each may find the challenge, and make this place a kick ass site for 2013! We can do it, guys and gals! ....but ONLY we can do it. Staff and Mods don't make the content. We do. It's all up to us.......100% of it.
edit on 24-12-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 12:44 PM
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Bravo, rabbit



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 12:47 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Kudos to You, for a much needed rant.....



Des



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 12:50 PM
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Silly Wrabbit.... Wanted to say that for awhile

But seriously great post, ATS is only as good as the content that is contributed S+F

Hope you all have a great Christmas
edit on 24/12/12 by Todzer because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 01:16 PM
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So am I to assume that, due to the lack of links to authorities, sources, and or resources this post is entirely opinion?

Just kidding Wrabbit, This was a very well written post that as you said was desperately needed. I hope it gets the attention it deserves and those that read it take it to heart. Thanks for posting.
edit on 24-12-2012 by Agarta because: Spelling



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 01:46 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Hi Wrabbit,

Great rant, could not agree more with your sentiments.

I was in the process of starting a thread about this however I think this thread you have started may be ideal for it.

I would like to get your take on the following links about one Mr Markham Nolan. Markham is my wifes cousin and is an Investigative Journalist. He is Editor of a website called Storyful in which his whole premise is based upon sorting fact from fiction regarding current global events.

Suffice to say, Markham, whom I obviously know personally, is very intelligent and very experienced for such a young person (early 30's) and he is dedicated and focused on getting correct information out on the web so soon as is verifyably practical. He has many sources in many countries and relies primarily on eyes at the coal-face. His team is made up of image analysis specialists amongst other credible specialized personnel.

His summary.......

I'm Managing Editor at Storyful, managing a team of nearly 20 digital-savvy journalists in the first news agency created specifically for the social media age. We are developing editorial processes & technology to enable the world's biggest news organisations discover, validate & deliver the most newsworthy social media content.
I'm a digitally native journalist with more than 14 years' traditional journalism experience with national titles both in Ireland and Australia. My print work has appeared in The Sunday Times, The Sunday Business Post, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Daily Mail, Metro, The Dubliner, The Irish Echo, Afloat Magazine, Outsider Magazine, Mongrel & others. I've also produced radio material for both National Public Radio & American Public Radio. I have produced copywriting for a host of clients & small businesses.


I am currently in discussions with him to use as source material. The first link below is a video of a speech he gave not too long ago which focuses EXACTLY on what you are discussing here today.....


At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate. The managing editor of Storyful.com, Markham Nolan has watched journalism evolve from the pursuit of finding facts to the act of verifying those floating in the ether


www.ted.com...
www.ted.com...
markhamnolan.com...
storyful.com...

I want to encourage Markham to join ATS as I think he could bring some very serious authenticity to topic discussions.

Anyway, I will continue to keep you posted on this thread as I receive information from him.

edit on 24-12-2012 by Sublimecraft because: added summary



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 02:12 PM
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Originally posted by Agarta
So am I to assume that, due to the lack of links to authorities, sources, and or resources this post is entirely opinion?

Just kidding Wrabbit, This was a very well written post that as you said was desperately needed. I hope it gets the attention it deserves and those that read it take it to heart. Thanks for posting.
edit on 24-12-2012 by Agarta because: Spelling

Well of course this post is all opinion, hence it's in Rant!


If I was an authority myself, I'd spend a few million to make my very own ATS and post it in Board Administration instead.

(sorry..your post made me laugh because in the midst of a rant...it's true too and I'd have a nose growing by the foot like Pinocchio to be offended.)
edit on 24-12-2012 by Wrabbit2000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 02:55 PM
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reply to post by Sublimecraft
 


Well, I watched the video from start to finish as well as reading the links. Wow.

Thats my first impression... He says so much in that video that is insightful and downright practical knowledge for making sense of and determining the credibility for information that he ought to teach a course and charge tuition.

I'm really only half kidding and say that because the information as he laid it out is so valuable. Much of that I've done in checking stuff out for my sites, stories/replies/threads I do here or occasionally checking stuff elsewhere. Some I didn't even think of..and I am thankful I sat and watched the whole vid to closing credits. It was worth every moment to see, whether having done this for awhile or not. He's professional and has a lot to share!

He also goes into an area I'm glad to see so openly talked about. I rarely ever mention it and never source it here but Twitter is becoming more credible and valuable as a resource than RSS direct to the sites of the news makers themselves ...let alone Wire Services. Instead of waiting for an update to get sent to the Web team to make it to the site ..and then go out on RSS? Twitter has the people IN the organization, whatever it may be, sending info out direct and without time delay. It's like the Super-Buffet of tailored, categorized and highly specialized wire services......as long as his other points are also kept in mind of course about overall judgement on absolutely everything seen online now...in any form..from anyone.

I see and have started using Twitter feeds in my own online projects for things as diverse as USGS Feeds and NASA to Missouri National Guard and Army Times for military 'background noise' to watch. Everyone who is anyone ...officially as well as the tabloids and celebrities, send out twitter feeds it would seem.


The Imagery area he talked about made me smile. I think I had a flashback...So many nights I've spent doing about that same thing over satellite photos vs. ground photos vs. a news photo ...and better than half the time it turns out to prove a direction that isn't even usable for the effort. lol..

The points on still image credibility were eye openers too. I'm not sure how many of the photos I saw from Sandy were real. I KNOW the ones I saw from a friend and retired NYPD guy were real..they came from his own personal camera. Outside those? Well...... my first impression of the flooded street photo was a fake, if that says anything. Not certain...but impression...and I found it fascinating to hear him describe how the debate was among professionals over lighting, shadowing and other things for whether they were genuine.


Thanks for sharing that and I really mean it... I hope everyone takes a few minutes to watch the linked video and I'm going to spend some time looking at more of what he has. It's very much in line to the topic and adds a great deal to my own OP points as it compliments and goes beyond them in some ways.



posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


Thanks Wrabbit,

I am really glad that you liked what Markham has to say. I think his input would be invaluable here on ATS - especially those breaking stories where the correct info, whilst the iron is hot, is vital.

Anyway, if it's OK with you, I will continue to update this thread as necessary, and if he joins ATS, I'll point him into this thread for an intro.




posted on Dec, 24 2012 @ 03:49 PM
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reply to post by Sublimecraft
 
Sounds like a great idea to me... Heck, I think content like that would be a great thing to see. There are forums where some of that would fit in, isn't there? There is a forum for almost anything here, after all.



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 05:24 AM
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reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


people say you are wrong.



posted on Dec, 26 2012 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by votan
reply to post by Wrabbit2000
 


people say you are wrong.

Hmmm... Okay.... Did I do something to you in a past life? Am I wrong about my last stock picks? (that's scary there).. Could you elaborate a bit, perhaps? I mean..if you take the time to post, it seems you'd want me to at least understand your reference there?



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