This discussion started with a question posted on Quora:

“Shouldn’t TV news anchors and guests have a label under their names indicating the capacity in which they are giving their opinion?”

A variation on the theme – and worth consideration – is Whether & How anyone who appears in the media is “contextualized” (not just anchors and guests).

What’s in a Name/Label?

As a guy who’s worked behind the camera and edited the content I can say :

There’s inherent value & hierarchy in visual framing

  • Are you in an environment you control or dominate (your office/your desk … or on-the-street)
  • Are you titled (profession … or just some guy)
  • Are you named (“John Vaughan” … or “victim”)

These attributes go a long way towards informing us about and framing how we view & hear the individual who’s on-camera.

For example: Television News Research

Veracity, Credibility, Relativism

A UX colleague, Per Jorgensen, clarified the intent of the original Question:

“… he wants a certifying authority for journalists, similar to lawyers’ bars and physicians’ boards, and others in the news, which would issue or revoke journalism credentials.”

Let’s face it, distrust of information sources (specifically The Media) is rampant.

I get Original Poster’s point and appreciate it. However – as ever – implementation’s a bitch. Responsibility requires curation, which requires money. And – of course – now the Curator’s motivations are suspect, as well (i.e. “Who’s paying for it?”).

Whenever someone employs the-word-‘real’-as-a-modifier (s.a. a “real journalist”), I always take a deep breath. Even though I recognize the credibility dilemma they’re identifying.

Crowdsourcing isn’t necessarily a solution for credibility. It just measures approval and identifies the Boundaries of the Bubble. Global Distrust of information sources is now ‘a thing’. But that’s another rant…

 

Want to comment? (Take this quiz)

I kind of appreciate the solution offered by fellow Nordmenn (Northmen) at Norway’s public broadcaster NRK:

This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before they are permitted to comment, as well as a nice follow-up on the process.

Per Jorgensen>

“think how politicized a “journalist licensing board” would be. The decisions alone of deciding who is and is not a journalist are staggering.”

Transparency

An ethical ‘information-centric’ socialNet site might be transparent about how-many / how-consistently a given contributor is downvoted & reported for abuse for trollish behavior.

This provides usable information while it also offloads the evaluation process to ‘the Commons”. Can this, too, be “gamed”? Of course, but it raises the barrier to abuse without imposing a lot of extra work/expense on the platform providers.

Furthermore, it places the ‘censorship’ burden upon the individual viewer:

“We told you that his article has been reported – and how much it’s been reported. We told you how often this contributor has been censured/reported by other viewers. We told you what percentage of his posts are reported. Want to read the article or respond to it? It’s your call.”

This reinforces the platform as being (relatively) even-handed, informative and non-invasive. The automation cost of collecting and displaying the performance data is negligible. The value is – in my mind – substantial. Perhaps even measurable.

By the same token, other dominoes may fall:

“Should the socialNet platform censor contributors who have reached some threshhold of BadActs?” “Do we need to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes which arise?”

 

Crowdsource Credibility

This provides usable information while it also offloads the evaluation process to ‘the Commons”. Can this, too, be
“gamed”? Of course, but it raises the barrier to abuse without imposing a lot of extra work/expense on the platform providers.

Furthermore, it places the ‘censorship’ burden upon the individual viewer:

  • We told you that his article has been reported – and how much it’s been reported.
  • We told you how often this contributor has been censured/reported by other viewers.
  • We told you what percentage of his posts are reported.
  • Want to read the article or respond to it? It’s your call.

This reinforces the platform as being (relatively) even-handed, informative and non-invasive. The automation cost of collecting and displaying the performance data is negligible.  The value is – in my mind – substantial. Perhaps even measurable.

The Quora Solution

An ‘information-centric’ socialNet site like Quora might be transparent about how-many / how-consistently a given contributor is downvoted & reported for abuse for trollish behavior.

This provides usable information while it also offloads the evaluation process to ‘the Commons”. Can this, too, be “gamed”? Of course, but it raises the barrier to abuse without imposing a lot of extra work/expense on the platform providers.

Furthermore, it places the ‘censorship’ burden upon the individual viewer:

“We told you that his article has been reported – and how much it’s been reported. We told you how often this contributor has been censured/reported by other viewers. We told you what percentage of his posts are reported. Want to read the article or respond to it? It’s your call.”

This reinforces the platform as being (relatively) even-handed, informative and non-invasive. The automation cost of collecting and displaying the performance data is negligible. The value is – in my mind – substantial. Perhaps even measurable.

By the same token, other dominoes may fall:

“Should the socialNet platform censor contributors who have reached some threshold of BadActs?” “Do we need to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes which arise?”

Disclaimer:

The title ‘trump trollery’ is intended as a call-to-action against annoying socialNet behavior. The definition of “trump” as a verb : “a decisive or advantageous move”. The fact that it also makes for some clever wordplay on the focus of this article is just cream.

As Ms Obama sagely advised, “When they go low, we go high.”

 

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

 

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