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).

Credibility and Trust

A UX colleague, Per Jorgensen, clarified the author’s intent:

“… 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 theMedia) is rampant.

I get the Original Quora 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…

Earn Participation

Want to comment? (Then – 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 ‘information-centric’ socialNet site might be transparent about how-many / how-consistently a given contributor is downvoted & reported for abuse for trollish behavior.

This solution 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.

Crowdsource Credibility

Furthermore, it places the valuation 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?

In any case …

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.

Context determines Perception

 

 

© The Communication Studio LLC

 

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