La Message Board Archives

(mis) information age

Posted by Daniel / moderator on January 13, 2008, 4:55 am


As both moderator of this board and as a individual person I would like to say a couple of things.

We have had this message board for a few years now and most have gotten used to the format it uses. I think most would agree that it is unique and invaluable for it's ability to communicate a particular topic to many persons at once.

But it also has another side in that it can also be used to spread misinformation. The options to reducing that negative (like password protection) have been tried and abandoned in favor of a more open and user friendly format. With the open format we all need to be aware that information posted here may either not be accurate or not from who it say's it is.

Just in the past couple of day's there was a post about food poisoning and another slanderous post which was removed completely because the poster was an imposter.

I never had the chance to verify the email address of Beverly (the original poster on the food poisoning thread) to see if she was real, but the way that thread progressed worked out fairly well. It is actually that thread which is (in part) prompting this post.

Beverly was scolded for posting that information on a public board. There were some interesting points raised about food poisoning which showed several other possibilities that could have been the source. Would one rather that Beverly express her opinion in private where the "accused" does not have a chance to respond, or in public where they do? Would one rather that the topic never came up or was there information passed along which helps others learn about food poisoning and balance the validity of the claim?

Personally if someone is saying something bad about me I would like to know it, I would rather have them post it on a public board where I (and others) have a chance to address the issue than in private where I don't even know it is being said.

It seems that the process of communication is just that a process. If my observations of how this message board is being used are correct we are evolving. What was once considered offensive / upsetting is becoming less so as we balance information with possibilities like "it may not be true" "the poster may not be who they say they are" and "there may be more to the story than meets the eye".

Please be aware that as moderator I may not have had time to verify the validity of the poster. Even then take the information to be unsubstantiated until others have responded.

It is not just this message board which is vulnerable to misinformation, it is also prevalent in the main stream media. It seems we have a choice, limit the information or balance our belief in / reaction to the information. I would like to see us communicate with others about things we read and hear. Get their opinion, stay open to other way's of thinking, speak about the things we were raised believing should not to be spoken of. This is not a dress rehearsal, in 5 years these will be the good ole day's. I hope we don't look back on them and wish we would have been more brave.

Adios for now,

Daniel / moderator


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