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Berners-Lee Wants Truth Ratings For Websites

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the that's-a-lie dept.

The Internet 535

holy_calamity writes "While introducing the new World Wide Web Foundation Tim Berners-Lee made also asked for a system of ratings to help people distinguish truth and untruth online. 'On the web the thinking of cults can spread very rapidly,' he said, saying that 'there needed to be new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources.'"

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Just what we need... (5, Funny)

cabjf (710106) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024433)

...a truthiness rating!

Re:Just what we need... (4, Funny)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024581)

Clearly you don't understand truthiness. I don't need a rating, I know the answer in my gut.

Re:Just what we need... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024685)

Clearly you don't understand truthiness. I don't need a rating, I know the answer in my gut.

You're full of shit?

Re:Just what we need... (2, Funny)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024843)

"Yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields falsehood when preceded by its quotation.

Re:Just what we need... (3, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024727)

Ironically, the Op's statement is more insightful than many people may realize. Let's face it, there is alot of crap floating around that masquerades as "Truth". The entire "9/11 Truth" movement, for example. (Which, I suspect, is what the OP got the "truthiness" quip from. A mock on the "truther" movement.)

The point is, WHO is to be the arbiter of "truth"? And how do we know they won't have a political agenda? I think that the major problem is not that some sites need a "true" or "not true" label, but that FAR too many people lack critical thinking skills and fall for emotional ploys and the latest "chicken little" scares.

It would be far more efficacious to push for a critical thinking and debate class requirements in grade and collegiate level schools. At least then people would be better equipped to winnow out the facts from the crap themselves, and we wouldn't have to rely on some nebulous "Truth Authority" to inform us.

Re:Just what we need... (5, Informative)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024773)

Truthiness is a creation of Steven Colbert of the Colbert Report, and was Merriam-Webster's 2006 word of the year [merriam-webster.com]

Re:Just what we need... (1, Flamebait)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024795)

Which, if I am correct, was Colbert's mock against the "9/11 truth" movement. Please excuse me for not crediting Colbert, it wasn't really the topic of my post.

Re:Just what we need... (5, Insightful)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024783)

"What is Truth?" Asked Pontius Pilate as he washed his hands...

Re:Just what we need... (2, Funny)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024785)

Someone mod him up lest the rest miss him. Do you REALLY want to know how well /. would hold up in a test for truth?

Re:Just what we need... (1)

pahoran (893196) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024833)

Yeah, because most people who don't worry about thinking critically place a high value on education and will pay attention in school. Oh wait...

Re:Just what we need... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024589)

I'd mod you +1 truthy (but I could be making this up).

This article is not true. (5, Funny)

mraiser (1151329) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024435)

There. Now you know.

I can get you ratings readily enough... (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024439)

... but for Facts, not Truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall.

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024515)

Can you just imagine all the poor people who are heavily confused about the state of affairs in Soviet Russia after reading slashdot? How were they to know that these things were untrue!?

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (4, Funny)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024549)

In Soviet Russia, truth rates YOU!

Waitaminit....that's almost how it should be...

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (3, Funny)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024765)

Can you just imagine all the poor people who are heavily confused about the state of affairs in Soviet Russia after reading slashdot? How were they to know that these things were untrue!?

Wait a minute. This is just a special case of internationalization!

1. Check visitors IP
2. Look up geo-position
3. Serve up localized truth
4. ???
5. Profit!!!

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (5, Insightful)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024603)

TFA is /.ed, and MirrorDot's not behaving, so this is a shot in the dark. But I'm reasonably sure we've heard something like this before, and the idea is just as bad now as it was. Berners-Lee is smart enough to know that all systemic rating scales are subject to being gamed. I fail to see how embedding such a scale in the protocol would help, and it's not unlikely that it would hurt the situation.

Moreover, the WWW as he created it - being a very dumb platform - allows us to implement such a scale at a high level, using user input and so forth.There are already a ton of services that do something very like this. Hell, I can trust the top 10 things on del.icio.us more than I can trust random Google results.

I donno. I just fail to see the point of this. Yeah, people's capacity to care about facts and details appears to be limited, but I don't think this is the solution.

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024689)

I fail to see how embedding such a scale in the protocol would help, and it's not unlikely that it would hurt the situation.

The idea here seems to be more of a "FooOrg TruthRank" that you could subcribe to, "He went on to say that he didn't think "a simple number like an IQ rating" is a good idea: "I'd be interested in different organisations labelling websites in different ways".". Isn't there a browser toolbar that will show the google pagerank of pages you visit? I think the idea is something like that.

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (1)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024793)

Well, great, but I don't see how the idea is a) original, or b) supposed to counteract the groupthink that's already in place.

I can check out the (R|D)NC's most recently cited sources and get their TruthRank. Doesn't mean they're right.

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024799)

I donno

Me Stevo

Re:I can get you ratings readily enough... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024847)

I just got into a fight with my wife. She refused to see the truth of the signs posted all over California concerning various health issues. She claimed she'd never seen a single one. Send a pic and maybe I can work on the rest of it with her... *sighs* Really.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024447)

I bet Obama's own website would be going wild with an untruth rating..

Re:FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024475)

To say nothing of John McCain...why the fuck did you feel the need to transform this into politics?

And Then What? (5, Insightful)

Alex Pennace (27488) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024453)

What is to prevent any such proposed system from becoming yet another popularity contest plagued by those who want to quash unpopular ideas?

Re:And Then What? (5, Insightful)

Nasajin (967925) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024623)

Absolutely nothing. The system is exactly a popularity contest, where truth is determined democratically, rather than by actual relationship to reality.

Re:And Then What? (1, Interesting)

deepershade (994429) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024673)

Im curious as to how sites that discuss UFO and/or paranormal phenomena will be rated.
We're talking about a grey area that has little to no concrete evidence for or against. How do you judge truth in this sites except by personal opinion?

At what point did Berners-Lee appoint themselves Rulers of the Truth?

Re:And Then What? (5, Insightful)

SimonGhent (57578) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024797)

Im curious as to how sites that discuss UFO and/or paranormal phenomena will be rated.

How about religion: Christianity, Islam, Scientology?

How about acupuncture or homeopathy?

Or to be really contentious how about OS feature debates?

We're talking about a grey area that has little to no concrete evidence for or against. How do you judge truth in this sites except by personal opinion?

Quite!

I don't know if I believe this... (4, Funny)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024461)

slashdot's been wrong in the past.

Where's the "goodluckwiththat" tag (4, Insightful)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024469)

This sounds like an exercise in futility

Re:Where's the "goodluckwiththat" tag (1)

AioKits (1235070) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024503)

I give you a 100% true rating!

Re:Where's the "goodluckwiththat" tag (4, Funny)

ROBOKATZ (211768) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024625)

We'll get started on it as soon as we finish the semantic web.

Fancy way of saying PageRank doesn't work... (2, Insightful)

Chris Rhodes (1059906) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024473)

Take that, google!

Re:Fancy way of saying PageRank doesn't work... (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024585)

PageRank is a popularity contest, not a truth gauge.
Otherwise how do you explain The Onion as the first result for "onion"

Re:Fancy way of saying PageRank doesn't work... (1)

drseuk (824707) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024655)

Otherwise how do you explain The Onion as the first result for "onion"

Definite article bias?

Re:Fancy way of saying PageRank doesn't work... (5, Interesting)

Chris Rhodes (1059906) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024699)

The onion is far more accurate than your average editorial page.

Re:Fancy way of saying PageRank doesn't work... (4, Insightful)

Nathanbp (599369) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024825)

The onion is far more accurate than your average editorial page.

Perhaps, but it is a rather bad reference on actual onions.

Meta (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024481)

And then, we can rate the accuracy of the rating, and the accuracy of the accuracy rating, and so on.

But truthiness is more important! (2, Interesting)

F34nor (321515) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024485)

Like www.martinlutherking.org

Wow that's a shit storm of truthiness right there. Can someone out there DDoS the fuck out of it while they're at it?

Uhmmm Yeah, sure! (1)

Froze (398171) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024487)

... and who is going to watch the watchers?

Or rather, in this case who is going to vet the group responsible for determining if something is true?

This will never work (0, Offtopic)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024493)

http://www.microsoft.com/vista/salesfigures/ontheup.html [microsoft.com]

Lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies lies

Re:This will never work (4, Funny)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024809)

No, those are statistics...its different.

Sorry Mr. Twain.

Truth Ratings by who? (1)

Twyst3d (1359973) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024501)

And who is gonna judge this? Because finding a qualified applicant who can be completely unbiased in such a regard is next to impossible. Add into the equation that some people can afford to buy truth (RE: See Stephen Colbert talking about purchasable reality vis a vis the creative editing of Wikipedia entries).

Exactly (2, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024637)

People have been killing each other over the question of who has the Truth for thousands of years. Even factual/non-factual would not work. A true zealot will not let facts get in the way of what he believes to be true.

WTF?? (1)

jriding (1076733) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024505)

And from now on I think everyone should have to wear a sign that also gives them a truth rating. People will say what ever they feel like, and the sheep will believe what they want to. This is nothing new.

Worst idea ever. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024507)

Worst idea ever.

Re:Worst idea ever. (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024749)

No, the idea is great but the implementation wholly improbable if not impossible.

Yet rating of sites is done all the time but usually based on popularity, not truth.

So I could imagine a few institutions (like Verisign for security) that would do the rating based on their specific and well documented background, one could request one or several of these ratings to be displayed.

That way would a site get a positive mark from some ID or Creationist rater it would be easier to dismiss them.

A rating system can't overcome stupidity (4, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024511)

What's really needed is a society where a majority of the individuals have a world class education. No rating system will ever work until you get that in place.

Re:A rating system can't overcome stupidity (5, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024605)

The best argument against any democratic system is a 5 minute conversation with the 'average voter'. This seems little different in that regard.

Re:A rating system can't overcome stupidity (4, Interesting)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024609)

And how do you educate people without trustable knowledge ?

Re:A rating system can't overcome stupidity (2, Informative)

vonhughes (1365017) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024835)

What we really need is a society where people have world class ethics. I've known a number of very well educated people I wouldn't trust with a dollar bill. I'm assuming many of the folks running Lehman all had "world class educations"...

Which begs the question... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024517)

...of who assigns the ratings for trustworthiness? The users, who may already be part of the "groupthing" promoted by a site? A "non-partisan" organization of some sort? Individual countries? All of these possibilities can be gamed. As it is now, the first time I stumble on a site, I assume a lot of it's content to be noise unless it is known to me who set it up. With a rating system in place, a lot of people will default to using the rating system to determine whether a site is trustworthy, even if it is a site by Kevin Trudeau selling survival kits for the impending gopher apocalypse.

Re:Which begs the question... (2, Insightful)

spiffyman (949476) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024771)

Bah. I've already posted, but if I hadn't I'd mod you up. These are exactly the kind of worries one might have about a system like what Berners-Lee is suggesting.

But there's something else here. Suppose we were to pick one of the first two options you present (users or an uninvolved organization). Then the suggestion isn't terribly original. There are already sites that incorporate user input to rank sites (and some of them *koff*digg*koff* don't work all that well). And the idea of a neutral fact-checking group/site isn't too interesting either. Just thinking of factcheck.org [factcheck.org] and snopes.com [snopes.com] , it isn't too hard to see something like a rating service coming down the line. (And there are probably more obvious relatives than those that I'm just missing.)

Just doesn't seem like a very good idea...

Re:Which begs the question... (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024807)

So you are asking this question?
"What is truth? Is your truth the same as mine?"
What rating would be given,
The Roman Catholic Church?
The Mormons?
Scientology?
What about Global Warming sites? What about sites that say Global Warming is a theory and is unproven?
Facts are easy to rate. A site that claims that a Toyota Prius gets 3000 MPG is has their facts wrong.
A site that says the McCain is a Nazi would have their facts wrong.
But Truth is much harder.

Truth rate this post (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024533)

Ok, let's truth rate (True or False answers only) the following sentence in this post:

"This sentence is false."

Re:Truth rate this post (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024733)

And rate this one too.
This sentence is not rated.

probably what he has in mind (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024537)

Using semantic web tools, this can be achieved with reification of statements, and a network of trust. It's also the future of wikipedia, or at least it should be.

Re:probably what he has in mind (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024633)

Unfortunately I think Knol has that covered.

Re:probably what he has in mind (1)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024661)

Exactly.

Tim thinks deeper than most /. posters. From the article:

He went on to say that he didn't think "a simple number like an IQ rating" is a good idea: "I'd be interested in different organisations labelling websites in different ways".

That sounds a lot like a Credence-like system. There isn't "one truth", there are many truths. I would personally value the science truth more and the biblical "truth" less, but someone else might make a different decision.

As I see it, he is looking more for a kind of citation system. If your website cites others as sources, and is cited by others in return, then what you say has a higher confidence value than if you're an island on the web and make up things, as far as anyone is concerned.

Re:probably what he has in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024841)

As I see it, he is looking more for a kind of citation system. If your website cites others as sources, and is cited by others in return, then what you say has a higher confidence value than if you're an island on the web and make up things, as far as anyone is concerned.

Cool, I have an idea: Let's make a search engine based on this technology! We can name it after a really big number or something.

Be interesting to see how Groklaw is rated. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024539)

I suppose it depends on who does the ranking.

Sad to say (0, Troll)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024547)

Sad to say, but that's censorship. Coming from someone I respect like Berners-Lee, I am truly disappointed. Who's to say what is the truth and what is fiction for me? The things on the net are for them to tell and for me to find out.

Surely, I got duped by all those chain mails but I wisened up.

Surely, I got all the emails about Obama being a closeted Muslim but I learned better.

Rating this would be nothing short of censorship and it won't work perfectly which is to say it won't work - period. Look at an algorithm like PageRank which Google bombed so easily. What's to prevent miscreants from messing with this?

Poor Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024551)

Aww, poor Slashdot..

The Truth Is Out There... (1)

intothemiddle (1142025) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024557)

Truth is considered to be universal if it is valid in all times and places.

Even with "news" websites you don't get the truth, you just get a reporters take on the events. Even eye witness testimony is poor at best.

So the truth between politicians, reporters and geeks is just going to create a system I'd like to call..

the-maybe-machine

Better yet... (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024561)

Better yet, let's teach people how to think for themselves, particularly how to fact-check sources, thus reducing the number of people who believe the first website they see off of Google.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy... (3, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024569)

I can see it from here: TRUTHINESS WARS!

Forget about the Usenet flame wars, the Slashdot flame wars, even the Wikipedia editing wars, people... This is the Real Deal! Years after the Truthiness Wars, the Intertubes will still have that scarred, scorched look that faintly glows in the dark due to the irradiated remains of a thousand web sites.

Decades after the commotion, survivors and veterans will trade horrible, traumatic war storie...

Remember when the Vatican webmaster was allowed to rate Jack Chick [chick.com] ?
And Disney allowed to rate Warner Brothers?
And Fox News allowed to rate Barack Obama's web site?
Oh, come one, what about when Theo de Raadt was allowed to rate Linus Torvalds? And Linus counter-attack?
And... Wait for it... RMS and the FSF rating Microsoft? Now, THAT is what I call a nice truthiness battle, baby! The mother of all such battles, in fact. Thousands of web sites went down in that one with the infamous 0% truthiness rating. Ugly, my man, but it had to be done.

OK, does anybody else think this is a Bad Idea(tm), or am I the only one?

And here is the proof: don't trust anything I ever posted on Slashdot. ;-)

Re:Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy... (0)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024677)

Can't wait to see the reaction to Moveon.org, DaileyKos, Huffingtonpost, and MSNBC being listed as no truth to be found sites.

Truthfull to some.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024573)

How would this work on a site about the bible? Or about evolution? I certainly don't consider the bible to hold any truth, just as religious people dont see evolution as the truth. So how should such sites be rated? "Truthfull (if you belive in evolution.)" perhaps?

Re:Truthfull to some.. (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024647)

so...."Love your neighbor as yourself."

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Love doesn't envy, love doesn't boast..."

"You shall not murder"

are ALL untrue in your estimation? Have you even READ the Bible? There is quite a bit in there that even the most rabid secular humanist may agree to being "true."

Yeah, but... (1)

ZWarrior (194861) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024593)

how do we know that the entity validating the site truthfulness is telling the truth?

This is the web, there is no truth, only the spoon is real.

And what version of the truth? (3, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024601)

As we know there are at least four:

Your version,
Their version,
the Truth and
what actually happened.

If that works out will I see a big red pulsating "This is all bullshit" label on the Scientology or any Creationist homepage? I doubt any admin in their self-righteous mind would put something like that on their site. In the specific idiology what is true in reality is a lie in their world. So who's to decide who gets one of those and ranked by what? And you had to rule out all of the parties and congress's website. What about Whitehouse.gov? There should have been one of these "untruthful" markers for eight years now. Where is it?

This will NEVER work. Since everyone makes their own truths nowadays there will be just as many ranking systems as there are opinions.

Slashdot getting a truth rating? (5, Funny)

MistaE (776169) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024621)

Quick! Someone hide kdawson!

Original article on BBC. (3, Informative)

Hozza (1073224) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024627)

The original article was on the BBC:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7613201.stm [bbc.co.uk]

It should be emphasised that he isn't suggesting a "truth commission" that would tag all web pages.

He specifically said that he'd be interested to see how different organisations would label websites, depending on their intended use.

In many ways this is just a specific use of the semantic web concept that Berners-Lee and others have been trying to bring about for the last few years.

Who rates the rater? (1)

Lord of Kaos (1318447) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024631)

Say each rater gives a "truthfulness score" between 0 and 100.

Web browsers need functionality to individually weigh these rankings by a user definded factor based on the trust of the user in the rater, say from 0 to 1 (float) to gain a weighed ranking.

Do an average about theses products, and you arrive at a nice truthfulness percentage.

Of course it should be possible to collect the weightings from the users to preload the credibility of the raters...

This could have interesting consequences.

Re:Who rates the rater? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024683)

Login to slashdot and assign modifiers to comment ratings you want to hide or see.

Browse in bliss with a high signal to noise ration (or vice versa).

The slash commenting system is not perfect, but its very very good at what it does.

I would like to see its principles used in more places.

Re:Who rates the rater? (0, Flamebait)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024827)

And what happens when death-cultists, I mean christians, are ordered by their leaders to go out and give websites about evolution a "truthfulness score" of 0?

like pravda, but better (1)

paltemalte (767772) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024639)

Sortof like the idea behind USSR Pravda (to tell the 'truth'), but in a modern, much more totalitarian and tyrannical way. Me likes!

Do we do that in the real world ? NO ! (2, Interesting)

yvesdandoy (44789) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024645)

so why should we in the cyber one ?
Once again it's all about education.
Educating people since their youth to try to find their truth by themselves, avoiding to believe in dogmas.

He explicitly mentions cults (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024657)

Is this mostly a plan to get the Hubbardite sites labeled as expensive and dangerous bullshit?

Actually, it isn't an odd request (1)

Chris Rhodes (1059906) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024659)

On second thought, his request isn't all that odd. It is probably unrealistic, and ultimately unfair.

Rating a site does not mean it will have good content in the future. It also fails to assure that the site has the 'best' content. The need to sort through pages of distinctly that people only read sites they can handle are the next logical step.worded searches will probably never go away.

So I agree with the author that the idea will probably disappear, but not because it lacks merit. It will disappear because it is unfeasible to implement in a fair, non-commercial manner (unless you have a strong way of authenticating votes made by individual humans.)

RDF Anybody? (1)

Warbothong (905464) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024675)

The W3C already pushes RDF and RDFa, which are simple, machine-readable statements. Surely this already existing technology could be used to say things like "Site X has a trustworthyness of 80%", which could be stored in a distributed network of servers, with digital signing to show who's opinion it is. Then, people/sites which are well trusted can have their opinions held in higher regard, following some algorithm. Add some rules which keep automated entries from having much weight and voila.

Yes, there would be no "absolute truth" in such a system, it would all be a matter of consensus, but that's just the same as real life. "I think therefore I am" and all that.

Who gets to decide what's true? (1)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024679)

Who gets to decide what's true? The web is decentralized. All this would end up doing is making the groupthink problem even worse. Some loud people push an idea, it spreads a bit, then they declare a "concensus" and begin character-assassinating any dissenters. So I ask again, who gets to be the final authority on what is true and what isn't? The Pope, perhaps? (As a Protestant I've got a problem with that... [grin]) The whole point of the Internet is that it's decentralized. Installing choke points over what constitutes "truth" would be just as bad as installing choke points onto the network itself. Top-down management is bad!

Compared to what standards? (1)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024687)

is there going to be some sort of "internet standard" for truth? who will determine this standard? if we (as a nation) can't even determine a standard for simple things like "at what age should sex education be brought into the curriculum?", how can we possibly hope to define any sort of standard for the entire world?

we barely have a semblance of free-speech in real-life, now the christian theocracy that is america wants to quash all free-speech/thought floating around on the internet. maybe mine is a slightly over-the-top knee-jerk reaction, but i'm sick of seeing people's ideas getting destroyed by negations from parties that prefer to adhere to tradition than reason and discourse.

Verification by consistency (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024705)

One way to assess the truth of information on a site is to measure whether it's consistent with information from other sites. As long as you could avoid a variant of link farming, this would work to prevent all but the most systematic vandalism.

It would even work with Wikipedia, because a vandal isn't going to know (and thus won't edit) every article that may contain information overlapping with a target article. The inconsistency between the vandalized article and others would give it away.

Whose "truth"? (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024709)

Christians believe that the truth is that an imaginary man in the sky created the universe, Earth, and all life most especially people, in six days about 6000 years ago. All the evidence says that is untruth.

Does the creationist website get marked truth or untruth?
Does the website putting for the scientific evidence of evolution get marked truth or untruth?
Can they both be marked truth even though they are mutually exclusive?

Who gets to decided?

Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024711)

Why should we have 'truth ratings' for websites when we don't for books, magazines, newspapers, etc?

If you want to know the reputation of a website, research the website just as you would research any other source of information.

PageRank? (3, Interesting)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024713)

It seems to me that google page rank is probably the most effective implementation of this concept that is possible. Technically it does not ensure that the content of a website is truthful or reliable, but it does make the determination that it is popular, which is all any kind of 'press here to record that this website is truthful' is ever going to do. There are very few areas where people will agree on 'truth'. Imagine this concept applied to websites that discuss creationism for example. These kind of sites will receive many votes for being both truthful and untruthful. All you are really doing is measuring the popularity of the idea that they express.

Perhaps, an attribute could be added to the 'a' tag to indicate the type of link, so that a page author can indicate a rough reason why they have linked to a page. If I were to create a link in this post to a site that speaks of the LHCs potential to destroy the planet and called the link... "Check out these silly bastards". The PageRank of that site would increase, as there is no way to tell if I am supporting or lampooning that site with my link. A simple category system (not unlike slashdots moderations options) might help this process. So that I could add a category="funny" or category="insightful" to my link tags and any analysis tools (PageRank in particular) could adjust the ranking accordingly. Would be interesting to see what the top 10 funniest sites on the web were anyway :o)

1984 all over again (3, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024719)

It's bad enough that we have government at every level trying to legislate away personal responsibility, now we have a respected industry leader advocating for the same sort of Orwellian control.

Your own private graffiti (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024723)

What we need is widespread use of web annotation [wikipedia.org] software.

Then people could judge the truthiness of anything according their own little ideological ghetto, and the rest of us wouldn't have to put up with their whining.

We haven't managed it in real life... (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024737)

i.e. a universal reputation system is a hard problem.

Today, we use brands for that.

 

Berners to the Lee (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024755)

Reading the article, I thought Berners-Lee's idea came across as a kneejerk response to the LHC-destroying-the-earth stuff. It's important to remember that while Berners-Lee is behind the technology we use, he's not the *only* one behind it. I liked this quote from the author of the article:

There are plenty of arguments online already about whether Scientology is a cult. I find it unlikely anyone will be keen to step in and label sites on either side as not to be trusted. Others might reasonably argue that all religions - whether established or not - should come with a warning message.

As for wading in to put a stop to conspiracy theories, I can't image anything their proponents could benefit from more.

Too true - people say that the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. I'm guessing a corollary for this situation would be "the Internet treats a single definition of the truth as a matter for concern and develops a redundant array of competing theories."

Or even, "the Internet detects Berners-Lee coming toward it with some new ideas and reroutes snarky bloggers and /. posters to stand in his path." ;-)

Disagree (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024763)

Such ratings are too subjective. Given people's inclination to label even raw statistics as false or part of some agenda such a "truthfulness" rating would be completely polarizing. A better system would be to use the TLD's more effectively. As has been attempted with the porn industry, blogs and commentary could be segregated or maybe news outlets moved to a .news or something. A thought. I don't know how many times I've gone to Google's news page and seen commentary at the top of the page.

trust metric (3, Interesting)

starm_ (573321) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024769)

Actually what we need is a trust metric. Some process that propagates trust creating a kind of trustworthiness social network so that when you encounter something new, you can get an idea of, who trusts this information.

It should be able to answer questions like: Do the people you know trust this? How about the those you rated as trustworthy? Do certain specific groups and communities trust this? Maybe it hasn't been rated enough yet?

Facts vs truth vs belief (1, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024781)

OK, this is a noble idea, but I'm an atheist and many of the things that pass as legitimate discussion, i.e. theology or bible study, is nonsense.

Lets be honest, all religion is bogus and would not pass muster. Sheeple believe it, sheeple will fight and die for it.

How is other nonsense and lies any different?

Is christ truth? Of course not, but people would be offended by an impartial system that brands all nonsense as nonsense. There must be rigidly defined parameters of "acceptable" nonsense that includes things like christianity and islam whilst excluding scientology in Germany and so on.

Sheeple believe because they need to believe. People believe because they have seen and understand the facts. When someone says to you, "You have to believe in something..." The only sane answer is "no I don't."

power & .controll freaks coming out of the web (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024815)

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Wikipedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25024829)

This would practically kill Wikipedia overnight as most of the pages would get instantly and correctly labeled as BS. I think it would be good.

And who will decide? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024859)

Are people freedom fighters or terrorists?
Are people nutcases or religious examples?
Is Paris Hilton hot or not?

And how do we count? If 10.000.000 people say that gravity is untrue and only 2 people say it is, do we start to float?

As with any information that is tronw at you, you should not believe one source. Do not trust FoxNews, but also do not trust AlJazera or the BBC or ....
Look at all the information and then decide for yourself.

The last thing I would want is that somebody tells me what is right and what is wrong.

Stupid idea (1)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024867)

Yeah it sounds like a good idea in theory, but you're relying on other people to be the arbiters of "truth". What you'll end up with is something like Digg, where any opinion or information contrary to the majority's will immediately be dismissed and labeled "untrue".

Who provides the ratings? (1)

The Assistant (1162547) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024869)

Truth ratings are great, but who provides the ratings? The government of some country can say that this is true or that is not. Then you would need someone to rate who are accurate truth raters so you can weight the ratings being given.

If you have everyone rate the truth, I don't think it would stop the cults from getting there "message" out, it might just delay the message from getting out until enough followers vote and raise the truthfulness rating to "fact"/"gospel"/"Known Truth" or whatever rating terminology that would be equivalent to "Written in Stone".

Wikipedia (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#25024873)

Wikipedia will be OK then, because if it's on Wikipedia it must be true[citation needed].

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