What I would love to see is a method for tracking or indexing reputation of a site by some automatic method. As it is, I can kind of infer how reliable a site is based on the language I see, and the types of headlines, and whether others have told me it's reputable. I would love to see that automated somehow. News aggregators try to solve this via upvotes, downvotes, or flags, but there are plenty of reasons to upvote that have nothing to do with reliability per se, and trying to use multiple upvoting buttons seems silly, because at the end of the day rank is a one-dimensional property, so you'll have to combine "funny", "reliable", "interesting" into some single number.
It's a "hard problem" but since the value of information depends so heavily on its accuracy, solving it would appear to be very lucrative and valuable to a society in which the quantity of available information grows by leaps and bounds each year. Google seems to have solved "relevance" and I would love to see someone solve reliability.
I wonder, at a deeper level, if the political divide in the US is fueled by the "bubble" that google allows: many years ago, people read newspapers covering all points of view, but google news lets you select which sources you draw news from (allowing you to select only fox news and drudge report, for example)
That said, there's unquestionably room for improvement.
I do expect that bubbles have got less regional.
What would help is more meta data available to the reader. So, instead of measuring an unmeasurable "truthiness" (because really, what is truth, in the philosophical sense...) how about a Chrome plug-in that pulls down meta data from other sites that have written about this outlet.
So, you read NYTimes, and your little plug-i pops up some links to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayson_Blair or some such similar thing. You can read up on that and see that there have been issue sin the past, but for the most part, NYTimes remains reputable.
I guess it would need some sort of Hacker News-like inaccuracy tracker. Post bad stories, more up-votes, more likely to be detected as relevant meta info on the TLD it comes from.
A front page story like "Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat" is probably highly accurate, breaking news less so. Op-Ed, might as well be a random blog.
Still, BBC, Al Jazera, NPR are where I go. That, and hyper local sites.
The first false message from Joe is interesting, but once Rob replies, and Joe continues trying to push the lie, that's a little dick'ish. The second Rob replied, with his first, and extremely professional response, I would have apologized/congratulated him, and explained what I was doing.
Continuing the charade invites deserved anger. I don't like being lied to either, especially when I know the person was lying and keeps pushing the lie.
I guess I should lean in Crossley's favour because he actually posted a conversation, even if that conversation is fake.
In addition, the author of this hoax claimed offense at an accusation that he is "18 years old with no job", yet this blog is anonymous, so how do we even know that he isn't 18 and unemployed?
I have now decided that the author is merely a petty attention whore, and he became angered when one of his intended puppets decided that he was full of shit.
"X-surface"/Joe sounds like he really wanted to make a point, and got mad when someone disproved his premise. I'd like to know how many people he emailed vs. which sites actually published the rumor.
Also specs of next gen devices are not that hard to guess.
Assuming goals are 1080p x 60FPS:
If you aim for sub 500 USD of production cost that retail at 350-400 there are not many balanced hardware solutions that could fit. My wild guess is that we will have 6GB of ram (it is dirt cheap so it makes no sense to have much less), because the invisible walls are something players and developers has complained a lot. 2GB of video ram and four core cpu. And maybe 7870/660ti class GPU and what is left of the budget for storage.
How this works with devices such as Kinect though I'm not sure. It's about attachment rates (extra controllers, batteries, etc.) on the hardware side
Then the software side has fairly obvious goals.
Sadly, at times they have been. There is also something to be said for the proportional likeliness of ridiculous a story being run and the perceived ridiculousness of the associated company.
"Bad guys" exploit this effect to create false perceptions. It is used a lot in politics since perception is effectively reality if the next step is getting a vote. Sometimes it is used for espionage (corporate and geopolitical) to create a diversion. It has been used to make money in the stock market with option manipulation.
Because being "first" on a news story conveys additional profit (views, ad clicks, publicity) there is great incentive to be first, which will always be in tension with being accurate. There also seems to be a sliding scale on verification so leaking a rumor that the Prime Minister has died is less likely to run without verification than leaking a rumor that the Prime Minister has been photographed in a compromising situation. National impact vs scandalous impact. No doubt every publisher thinks "Hmm, what if this is a prank what is the worst that can happen?" Maybe I give them too much credit.
Reputation is important, takes a long time to build though. Can be lost quickly.
Just so you know, even at the big news sites, good hot tips from unknown emailers just never happen. Great hot tips come from getting corporate employees drunk, then chasing down their leads from other directions when you're sober. Anonymous insider emails spilling the beans only happen when a company is about to, or currently going bankrupt, or some such other catastrophic melt-down. Then they come crawling out of the woodwork.
 According to an anonymous email I received 35 seconds ago
Even though one "journalist" couldn't find any evidence of the girl existing: no birth certificate, no death certificate, no records of her existence, they essentially let Manti Teo off the hook when he essentially told the guy to not further into it.
Then look at ESPN. They supposedly sat on the story for under a week because they were trying to land an sit-down TV interview with Manti Teo. ESPN the Sports Entertainment Network, won out over ESPN the Journalistic Sports Network.
Bloggers have their flaws, but so does mainstream news.
There's nothing special about blogging, it's just a medium. Organizations build up trust through their track record, the same as in any medium. There exists tabloids and authoritative news outlets in the print world too.
A few year ago on April 1st, a bunch of bloggers got together and did this entire chain of a fake news story, each linking to the next one in the ring as "proof" of their story, no one actually ever leaving the ring. I thought it was amazingly self-insightful of them.
I believe that the video game journalism industry selects those that break stories fastest and quality is an afterthought or by-product. The difference is very slight, but I honestly don't think if people were suddenly paying for it, the quality of the stories would suddenly rise.
Nothing wrong with it, but as the tumblr account proves, bad actors can wreck havoc.
Seems that a Super Bowl spot goes for about 4 million USD, reaching 100+ million viewers  - that comes out as about 40 bucks per thousand impressions, but this "impression" is an interstitial one for 30 seconds. This is apparently the highest USA TV price ever.
And, for print, most anything that is not paid research has a cover price mostly to pay for distribution (in particular, to get news stands paid for carrying it).
I don't think it coincidental that these are financial papers. Information is valuable and businesspeople will pay for it. That has implications for their reporting, too. Their stories are under pressure for accuracy, because the readers are paying for information and will go elsewhere if they don't get good stuff.
I think ad-first news models are more prone to some bias to generate an audience. People generally don't like hearing things they disagree with, so anyone requiring a large audience finds themselves pressured to adopt particular attitudes to get and hold that audience.
Why don't business people assert the similar biases? They do. But the ones paying up for information -- e.g. WSJ subscribers -- are almost by definition more interested in information than people who aren't. That particular crowd is also alert to the potential in contrarian opinion, they know people can get _paid_ for knowing something unexpected. So they've incentive to overcome their own cognitive dissonance.
I read recently that the NY Times was moving to more dependence on subscription revenue. I think that would be great, the more a reader pays, the higher the demand for accuracy.
In 2012, something remarkable happened at The Times.
It was the year that circulation revenue — money
made from people buying the paper or access to
its digital edition — surpassed advertising revenue.
Ha. Ha. Assessing the credibility of news sources is far from a solved problem. It doesn't matter if it is breaking news, business news (in any industry), public policy news, finance news, etc.
Which isn't perfect, but certainly a good foil for situations like this.
I miss real journalism.
The few number of times I have looked at gossip stories, they're usually a paraphrases of copy and paste from a single shit rag like US Weekly, or whatever they're called.
And here we're talking about spreading false rumours about actual people, not inanimate product prototypes.
Just as easy as someone can send out a fake news tip to a bunch of sources, a person can just as easily pick out a piece of news story that is being covered everywhere and write a fake blog post about how they created the news tip out of thin air. I'm not saying (or even think) that is what the author did, but it is interesting to think about the reverse of this.
He could have made up that he made up that news. I'm mean he could have just
If the target were industry executives and product designers then, yes, getting accurate information on new products from competitors and the industry would be important but this is not the case.
The target market is, instead, eager-beaver fans who are bored at work or home and want something to entertain them and they find video game news and rumours entertaining. I've been part of that crowd in the past. To put it bluntly, I'd rather tons of inaccurate information constantly streaming into my RSS reader than one or two accurate updates a month.
This is a simple case of the market shaping the product. I wouldn't be so quick to attack the "journalists" who are simply giving their readers what they want.
Complaining that gaming news is not validated is about equivalent to complaining that the National Enquirer isn't top-rate journalism. We know and that's not the point.
"yahoo" - syndicated content
"cnet" - (UK) cnet.co.uk's crave blog
"gizmodo" - (UK) gizmodo.co.uk
not saying that you couldn't fool major sites, but this is a misrepresentative. You say "Gizmodo' without qualification, people expect you mean Gizmodo.com -- Not Gizmodo.co.uk. But hey, anything for a headline/clicks/press, right?
Edit: It should also be noted that most of the sites listed are not gaming sites despite his tirade against gaming journalists
That's especially regretable when sources about human health and medicine are submitted here,
as those sources often attract a lot of discussion, as we all desire to be healthier if we can.
The most embarrassing example I have seen of people using a good search engine (Google) to find lousy sources was when Larry Page posted a Google+ message
about his donation of funds to help young people in San Francisco obtain vaccinations. That resulted in a lot of anti-vaccine cranks decrying his donation, with one of those writing, "Just google it and do the research it's readily available" when asked to back up a statement decrying vaccines. The Internet is full of trash sources, and Google still spiders and indexes many of those as it searches the World Wide Web. Without thoughtful human brains thinking about which sources are reliable, the link structure that Google relies on in part as a signal of quality will include noise as well as signal.
The Hacker News welcome message
gives an overview of the community experiment here, summarizing the site guidelines. The welcome message distills the basic rules into a simple statement:
"Essentially there are two rules here: don't post or upvote crap links, and don't be rude or dumb in comment threads."
But it takes actual reading and thought to know what's a crap link. And since stories once submitted can only be flagged (not downvoted), it is still dismayingly easy for crap links to gain top position on the main page--I saw it happen only yesterday.
To follow up on this topic, I'll mention that other Hacker News participants have informed us all about two frequent sources of submissions that really aren't much good at all, namely the press-release aggregation sites PhysOrg and ScienceDaily. PhysOrg appears to have been banned as a site to submit from by Reddit. ScienceDaily is just a press release recycling service, nothing more. Users here on HN think there are better sites to submit from.
Comments about PhysOrg:
"Yes Physorg definitely has some of the worst articles on the internet."
"Straight from the European Space Agency, cutting out the physorg blogspam:
http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1116/ (press release),
"PhysOrg: just say no."
"The physorg article summary is wrong, I think."
"Phys.org is vacuous and often flat wrong."
Comments about ScienceDaily:
"Original article (to which ScienceDaily has added precisely nothing):
"Underlying paper in Science (paywalled):
"Brief writeup from Nature discussing this paper and a couple of others on similar topics:
"Everything I've ever seen on HN -- I don't know about Reddit -- from ScienceDaily has been a cut-and-paste copy of something else available from nearer the original source. In some cases ScienceDaily's copy is distinctly worse than the original because it lacks relevant links, enlightening pictures, etc.
" . . . . if you find something there and feel like sharing it, it's pretty much always best to take ten seconds to find the original source and submit that instead of ScienceDaily."
Comments about both PhysOrg and ScienceDaily:
"Why hasn't sciencedaily.com or physorg been banned from HN yet?"
"What ScienceDaily has added to this: (1) They've removed one of the figures. (2) They've removed links to the Hinode and SOHO websites. (3) They've added lots of largely irrelevant links of their own, all of course to their own site(s).
"Please, everyone: stop linking to ScienceDaily and PhysOrg."
"Those sources don't have RSS feeds, and ScienceDaily and PhysOrg have a bad habit of not linking to such things."
"Added value in PhysOrg article: zero.
"Please, everyone, stop submitting links from PhysOrg and ScienceDaily. I have never ever ever seen anything on those sites that isn't either (1) bullshit or (2) a recycled press release with zero (or often negative) added value. (Sometimes it's both at once.) It only takes ten seconds' googling to find the original source."
To sum up, yes, as the interesting original blog post kindly submitted here points out, it is EASY to fool online news sites. And it is easy to fool whole groups of bloggers, and thus to fool news aggregation sites. Read a source carefully before submitting. Don't submit at all if the source is dodgy. Save the submissions and the upvotes and the comments for reliable sources that take care to verify factual statements.
Your perpetual (and totally correct) crusade against PhysOrg reminds me there are others doing the same, and for that I thank you.
> And, furthermore, it's very common for journalists to
> receive anonymous posts.
Submitted the story, never saw anything about it. Probably not sensationalistic enough. Then I figured.
Sent the story to a few smaller news sites. ONE took the story. Next day, ALL sites including major news sites had the story.
Of course, these days its expected that news site leech stories and perform zero journalism, but back them, even thus I wouldn't say it surprised me a lot, it felt wrong hehe.
It comes at a small cost per news item, just like email spam costs, which added up would make it very annoying to work as a journalist.
In order to avoid getting spammed, they would have to do exactly what we would like them to do, which is to fack check.
Besides, contrary to what happens with spam, it is not cost-effective for a single individual to do this on a regular basis.
However, I wonder if it might be cost efficient for a community to do this, and whether it is done in any other community to keep the quality up.
Real journalism is the advertising industry now. "Real" journalism (old-fashioned "journalistic integrity") is a good way to get squeezed out and blacklisted from the industry.
Keep in mind this isn't "real" news or journalism, it is treated as entertainment and there is no integrity assumed, there are justifications in place for this stuff.
Also, there have always been press hacks and tabloids. Most popular internet "news" is far more tabloid than newspaper.
I got bad news for you buddy...
Yeah, it's not just the gaming media. The 4th estate is pretty much just a rotting corpse, and online media isn't any better (but at least it's free).
There is an awesome insider book about media manipulation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-church/ryan-holiday-tru....
"The way the media is organized today is bad, he argues, because it no longer cares for quality journalism. Sources aren't checked. Facts are dubious guesses at best. Mistakes are never corrected. No, the media cares more for gossip and things that make readers emotionally charged -- as that's what makes us share stuff."
Describes HuffPo to a T.
Collect some dirt, regurgitate some quotables with a little polish, copy some "facts" from Wikipedia (without attribution, ensuring that Wikipedia eventually cites the crap news article for non-factual facts), and we're off to the races.
I take it that this person doesn't read political journalism.
1) what if an employee really wanted to leak information anonymously?
2) rumors like these are fun, and let's face it, the subject matter isn't very important.
If it were someone embezzling millions in a company it would be a different story.
Sadly, the news industry is trying to be as fast as the bloggers to be hip and cool, and getting just as sloppy as hell in the process.
I've been feeling this way for some time.. moreover, I feel like HN and Reddit seed a lot of articles nowadays. Either way, thanks for taking the time and posting this.
To me this format all just seems like so much anonymous attention-seeking. The little tumblr-based "How I did it" blog posts are always absolutely dripping with poorly concealed pride about how successful the hoax was.
> I feel bad for lying, but it proves the point very well.
To my admittedly uneducated eye, nothing in the rest of that article indicates any kind of remorse or regret over the author's actions.
The clause before the 'but' is how the author gives themselves permission to say what's after the 'but'. This does not necessarily impart any emotional (or even semantic) meaning onto the first clause.
Part of our job is understanding and accounting for that.
Being a hypocrite does not invalidate someone's point. You're providing a 'summary' that's useless.