Judging Credibility


Jeff Jarvis points out the flaws in Newscred.

It's very simple --- though that's the problem; credibility isn't so simple. They list articles and you get to "credit" or "discredit" them. These scores are, in turn, compiled for writers and publications.

The first and most obvious problem, which TechCrunch points out, is that this is bait for grudges. Fox from one side, the Times from the other will get discredited by their detractors all day long. One man's bias is often the other man's truth.

From BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Credibility is not binary
Referenced Tue May 13 2008 09:45:47 GMT-0700 (PDT)

Precisely: reputation, credibility, are personal judgments. We often think of the New York Times having a reputation, but in fact, there's not some single, magic score somewhere. There are millions of opinions. But there are also millions of reputations. Each person judges what the reputation of the NYT is based on what they think others are thinking. Any system that doesn't allow each person to have a personalized reputation for a given entity is doomed to suffer this problem.

But Jeff points out a second problem:

The second and more fundamental problem is that there's no basis to decide credibility. Does one error ruin an article's credibility? How many discredits does it take to ruin a reporter's or a publication's? And then what does that mean? That they lied? That you don't believe them? That you don't like them? That they make mistakes? That they don't report enough? That they use anonymous sources? That they relied on bad sources? That they wrote it badly? That they weren't transparent?

From BuzzMachine » Blog Archive » Credibility is not binary
Referenced Tue May 13 2008 09:49:44 GMT-0700 (PDT)

Just as each person keeps an individual idea of the reputation of every other entity they care about, they also use their own basis for making that judgment. Apes are remarkably good at this--we have to be to create large social structures. Our frustration with computational systems that attempt to do this for us is partly rooted in the fact that they don't come close to the nuanced sophisticated social judgments that any 6 year old can make.