Friday, February 26, 2010

Quantity or Quality?

Hi Class,

A Thought:

As the internet became a larger and larger medium, those who were its greatest proponents praised it for its ability to bring information to those who sought it. Total freedom of information was the ultimate goal. It is true that the internet offers us an overwhelming amount of information on a myriad of different topics, but what is the quality of the information being provided?

It seems to me as though there are so many individuals chiming in on the information being provided that, in most cases, said information gets spoiled. Though Wikipedia is a useful tool for a quick reference point, how many times have you logged on and found information that was wrong? True, there are administrators fixing the errors, but what does it say that anyone can put any point in whether it is correct or not. This issue can be applied to blogs as well. Anyone can write virtually anything they want whether a fact is true or not. In most cases anything anybody writes does not have to be validated. Even if a blog subscriber finds and corrects the original mistake, another reader must read multiple entries in order to get a clear understanding of a topic, a prime case of the message getting lost to the medium.

Speaking as a student to students, I always feel this aggravation when trying to do research online. There is an amazing glut of information on the internet, but so little of it is credible. Search for literary criticism on Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and more often than not you get 15 different high school students final papers on the topic. Even using scholarly databases can run you into the same problems. It’s at this point I usually get frustrated, give up, and head off to a Manhattan library (that’s what I ended up doing for our final paper). There are so many people putting information on the internet, but so few are experts in the field they are writing on. Much of the time the information random people provide just makes it more difficult to sift through and find truly credible information. To me it seems, in most cases, like a prime example of too many cooks spoiling the soup.


  1. When doing research for a paper online, you type in quotations what you are looking for. However, some of the sites that exist are blogs or advertisements. You need credible sources for whatever topic you are going to research. Blogs sometimes represents someone's P.O.V. The contraversy of Enwikipedia is whether the information is true or false. The thing is, just about anyone can post information on the internet.


  2. You would like the argument made by Andrew Keen in The Cult of the Amateur, that quality is downed out by all this democratic quantity.