Evaluating the Internet

I read an interesting article on reasoning about the Internet this last week: EVALUATING INFORMATION: THE CORNERSTONE OF CIVIC ONLINE REASONING.

From the article: ‘Our “digital natives” may be able to flit between Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading a selfie to Instagram and texting a friend. But when it comes to evaluating information that flows through social media channels, they are easily duped.’

Just this week, I read another example of someone accepting false data. This example comes from a Star Trek wiki article. In the section “Graphics and displays” is this:

“A painting of an 18th century British warship, the HMS Defiant, can be seen on one wall of the briefing room aboard the Federation Defiant. Mike Sussman referenced the older ship in the episode’s script, after having done a Google search. In real life, however, no such sailing vessel ever existed. A fictional Defiant was seen in the 1962 movie Damn The Defiant! (based on the Frank Tilsey novel Mutiny), which may have been the namesake for the Constitution-class ship. It was only after the art department had created the image that Sussman discovered the vessel had not really existed in history. (ENT Season 4 DVD audio commentary)”

One interesting thing about this example is that either this story is true so this is a good example, or the story is not true, I have fallen for something myself so this is a good example.

If you read it on the Internet, it might be true, and it might be nonsense. Learn to tell the difference.