Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sock puppets?

The concept is old, however Wikipedia has a good take on its use in the new frontier of the virtual, as enabled by the WWW or otherwise.

In order to evaluate truth, do we need to know the source? Does knowing the source help?

Through processes like critical thinking we can discern truthfulness even if we do not know the source. However, does not hiding behind a cloak raise questions?

For instance, recent news carried stories about on-line efforts, under an alias, by a high-ranking official of Whole Foods. Given the ease of this sort of thing, do we know what type of mischief, or innocent fun, is going on right now?

Ought a publicly traded company be open about its Internet presences (plural, as we all know that one presence is never sufficient)? If there are activities that are under an alias, ought this be allowed?

For instance, a recent question dealt with the flightblogger (9/22/07, offline until further notice) site which provides information about the 787. The addition of the Disclaimer goes a long way to reducing suspicions of conflict as the site is an example of new media. However, there still exist issues related to verification of sources. (see disclaimer added at flightblogger on 08/16/07 of no connection whatsoever with Boeing; 9/22/07 offline)


04/07/2012 -- Flightblogger ends, as least, Jon's watch. Some issues raised five years ago are still apropos. The context may have changed a little, yet, perhaps now is time to re-address the themes.

05/17/2009 -- This whole issue will be re-addressed as the flight test results unfold. For one, the new media's impact has grown the past couple of years. Too, plenty of the older media have stopped paper output and only have a web-presence. Yet, how all this will evolve is anyone's guess. There is still the basic issue: how to verify on-line content. Wikipedia's known problems are one example. The issue is not just hoaxing; bad information can propagate quite rapidly; many times the genie, once let loose, cannot be put back into the bottle.

10/20/08 -- flightblogger's evolution looked at by the Chicago Tribune. The article mentions what was essentially risky (and unethical) pushing of information from within Boeing to the new media context. That is right along the lines of material suitable for analysis and discussion in this blog.

One has to ask about why there was no effort to stop the flow (after all, access was controlled - are we to believe that Boeing security is incapable of doing their job?); arguments that this was not possible are suspect (but, too, the release of information could have been done with Boeing's approval [how would we know otherwisel?]); some of the legal issues related to new media are still being defined and will be handled eventually (how is a photo released out of Boeing considered the property of flightblogger?).

11/9/07 -- flightblogger back on-line.

What does this have to do with truth engineering? Truth needs to be accessed via evaluative means of which the source and its attributes may be a not-small factor. So, the topic will be re-occurring in the posts.

Modified: 04/07/2012

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