Monday, June 06, 2005

The Shortfalls of an Information Society

Hmm, here's a challenge for the long term...

Local democracy on-line is great - lots of people have lots of different views, and seem to be able to discuss them sensibly, which is a good start :) Politics naturally enters into it, and along with politics we naturally get polemicism - fair enough - and, as a result, "persuasional techniques". Representation on the net, when detached from absolute nymity, is extremely intriguing.

An ongoing case in Brighton concerns the treatment of protestors at an arms company by local Police. So far, reports have been contributed either by the protestors in an effort to get their case known, or by media who run to their own rules (as far as I'm concerned). It's been very difficult to get a bias-free story, anyway. So I read this message from an "independent" with great interest.

Now, on the one hand, I'm somewhat suspicious of the police, and can believe that they'd be unnecessarily heavy-handed. But on the other hand, I feel equally guilty about jumping to conclusions - hence my interest in the post above. The question is, how can I trust the view of a supposed independent to be authentic? That is, not that their report isn't misjudged, as it were, but that they are as independent as they say they are.

For now, because I'm not involved with the situation and because I don't know the poster, my main resources are a). previous posts by the same person, b) their profile (which doesn't exist) and c). Google, although here we start to see just what Google lacks.


Indeed, at this point we start to see what on-line communication as a whole lacks. Reputation networks still have a long way to go, but for things like this, there's some great potential for small-scope (e.g. per-mailing list) trust networks. Only thing is, I'm not sure quite how they should work just yet...


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