W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Sunday, August 28, 2011

[Flipside Week] The internet as a source of truth

Did you enjoy the week of alternative opinions? Some of them are logical fallacies, many are incomplete truth such that if you know the entire picture, the current practices will be explained. It is all troll logic, so don't message me about your intellectual superiority.

But it gets you thinking. Why are some things done some way. It need not always follow logic, or more specifically, layman's logic. Common sense differs between people with different amounts of knowledge. What is logical to a child may not be logical to a scientist.

I decided to finish up the week with a big topic that affects all of us: the internet.

The internet is always considered to be full of lies. Because of websites like this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.

However, some of the websites above have some truth in them, you just have to find hard enough.

(BTW, 4chan is always right, and rule 1.)

Why do lies exist on the internet in the place? The content of the internet is contributed by its netizens. That means it is the humans that posted the lies on the internet.

Because it is human nature to speak untruth, be it intentional or non-intentional. The real world restricts the speaking of lies via a threat called accountability. People will know you are talking bulls***, and take action against you. If given the chance, people will spout nonsense if they know they cannot be stopped. Like employees in the service sector under the protection and/or order of their bosses, and state media. I know all diploma holders earn over $7k per month, because that is what all those acquaintances of mine told me.

So where do you go when you need information to double-check a claim against?

The internet.

It is full of words. Words that can be true or false. Words that are typed by others. But compared against words from just one person whose intention you do not know (usually bad, hence the need to check), the words by multiple unrelated people who do not know you have a higher chance to contain truth.

Furthermore, most of the time we are just concerned with finding that single one truth. Or something closest to the truth.

The relationship between word quantity, truthfulness, and anonymity of the poster is quite similar to the Planck curves, the y-axis being quantity, x-axis being truthfulness, and increasing temperature representing increasing anonymity.
Image source

As you can see, as anonymity increases, word quantity increases while average truthfulness decreases. However, the absolute quantity of the number of the most truthful words also increases. And this is what we are most concerned about.

For example, when a salesman recommends you a product, he has no anonymity, but he sure is talking a lot of bull. You go onto the internet to find a bunch of Amazon/eBay user reviews which are even more bull. But then finally you find one opinion by one reviewer, who had third-party measurements he did himself to back his claims, you can be more sure of the performance of the product.

The internet may be the only way for mortals to meet saints, but there are many times more people who pretend they are saints. This is why one must be able to filter what he reads.

And when you know where and how to look for the truth, you can learn a lot of real, useful things from the internet. More than the equivalent of what you learn from a degree if you work hard enough. (Actually I don't even know why I am paying my university except for the certificate, I'm doing most of my learning by myself, can't learn anything from the lectures.) Sometimes I search the internet to solve the tutorial questions, using notes and tutorials from other universities. Yes you can get notes and tutorials of universities by Googling.

So, appreciate the internet, for it is a good source of truth. It is also a good source of useful and useless information, but that is what we like about it.

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