[Foundation-l] Ensuring veracity of articles based on print sources

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 7 21:44:25 UTC 2006

--- Jonathan Leybovich <jleybov at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Ray Saintonge wrote:
> > Andrew Gray wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >>Fundamentally, use of an offline (or subscription,
> etc) source is a
> >>good and sensible thing, but it requires a modicum
> of trust that we're
> >>getting a reliable link between the page and the
> information quoted;
> >>we can't get around this by preparing lists of
> reliable and unreliable
> >>texts, we can only get around this by someone
> "trusted" saying yes,
> >>I've looked at that, it's there.
> >>
> > 
> > Everything should be checked and re-checked
> independently, but that's 
> > only an ideal.  We're already having difficulties
> getting software that 
> > gives us a stable version that has only been
> checked for common 
> > vandalism.  In time we should go much further than
> that, and allow 
> > statistically based algorithms that will give a
> measure of probably 
> > accuracy based on the review of multiple readers.
> > 
> Yes, a blind-vote citation-checking system in which
> aggregate results 
> are captured.  Once nice property of such a system
> is that the votes of 
> good-faith, competent citation-checkers will
> correlate strongly with one 
> another, while the votes of bad-faith and/or
> incompetent checkers will 
> have a basically random distribution.  This, of
> course, assumes no 
> widespread collusion among checkers, but in most
> cases such collusion 
> will be more trouble than its worth.  In addition,
> it would be possible 
> to seed the citations shown to checkers (even on an
> individual basis) 
> with random false citations which they would be
> expected to flag as 
> incorrect/fabricated.  Access to open bibliographic
> catalogs would allow 
> for the creation of completely random but quite
> legitimate-seeming 
> citations, as it is only a matter a randomly picking
> a work returned by 
> querying on the article's main subjects.
> I think it might also be useful to use the results
> of citation-checking 
> as a feed into some sort of trust ecology. 
> Fact-checking is mostly 
> tedious, unrewarding work, and so the users who have
> shown themselves to 
> be competent and reliable at it are probably going
> to be trustworthy or 
> at least good-faith in other areas as well.  This
> would of course not be 
> the only input to a user's "trust rating", but
> probably one of the more 
> significant ones.

I think this is an absolutely brilliant idea!  

Birgitte SB

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