I came to this weeks network symposium prepared. Gourmet chicken roll in one hand and a beautiful flat white in the other (no sugar of course). I listened to Elliot’s anecdote of his recent haircut as I tried to eat my unnaturally crunchy toasted roll as quiet as possible. Kenton didn’t seem to happy with the rustling of the brown paper bag right behind his ear but I think I got away with it. Elliot, the trim looks good and the on the spot anecdote was useful in understanding internet validity.
In order to judge the validity of things on the internet the first thing I would pay attention to is the source. Obviously if the source is a government website or a trusted news site I am much more likely to trust it then say… some teenagers sooky facebook page. But what if I am evaluating the validity of a blog? The source may just be a regular person like you or me. Our network lecturer Adrian pointed out that its all about the reputation. That is, the amount of times the page is linked by other sources. Although I would argue that internet traffic does have a part to play. The more people who visit the site, the more people link it and the more reputable it becomes as a source.
An interesting myth on validity is that Wikipedia can never be trusted. Don’t get me wrong, you should take care when using Wikipedia as false information can be present. However, the admins do a good job of removing many of the errors although there are still an abundance of errors in existence. So its not reliable? That’s not what I’m saying. Any site or book may have misleading information, its just because Wikipedia is open source that worries people. Interestingly, Wikipedia was proven to be more reliable and accurate then Encyclopaedia Britannica which is an online encyclopaedia contributed by certified experts only. Think about it. It makes sense. We all know someone who a self proclaimed expert in some field. John might know everything about growing bananas in a central Victorian climate. With Wikipedia ol’ John can make a contribution to the world.