Re: Snopes & Webby

On Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 9:48 PM Owen Ambur <> wrote:

> While I do recognize the relevance of awards to tribal vanity and
> solidarity, this evidence reinforces my bias against considering them to
> be a credible indicator of credibility:

While plagiarism is a serious failing, I'm not sure that it is correct to
suggest that plagiarized content is any more or less credible than original
content. I assume that Snopes received its Webby award because of a general
perception that its content, however sourced, was useful in determining the
truthfulness of statements. If Snopes were to post a plagiarised
confirmation of its own plagiarism, that might provide further evidence of
their unacceptable behavior, but it would also strengthen their position as
a site that publishes truthful evaluations of statements, memes, etc. Even
if all of Snopes' content was plagiarized, their credibility would depend
on their skill in choosing what to plagiarize.

The important thing about credibility signals is to be aware not only of
what they indicate but what they do not indicate. Publishing credible
content does not imply that content is published either honestly or
legally. Credibility should be understood to be context specific; limited
to specific purposes and for particular periods of time, etc.

Nonetheless, users of Snopes might wish to know of Snopes' history of poor
content sourcing practices. (Those issuing awards for ethical conduct might
be particularly interested...) This confirms for me the belief that we need
a mechanism that allows one to associate third-person, discoverable
comments or annotations to a credibility signal. It should be possible, on
finding a signal of Snopes' credibility, to create a new signal which says,
in essence: "While they may have once won an award for one thing, they are,
or have been, plagiarists." If credibility signals were provided as
identifiable elements, for instance via Verificable Credentials that record
awards, it should be possible to use the W3C Annotation protocol to
associate comments or qualifying statements with the identifiers of the
Verificable Credential.

Snopes won the Webby. That fact can't be changed, however, it would be
useful if one could later make the statement "The winner of this award has
been found to have plagiarized content." Doing this would allow others to
better understand the meaning of, and the limitations of, Snopes' Webby

Is there any reason why the W3C Annotation protocol would not be a
reasonable mechanism for publishing signals about signals (meta-signals)?
Is there a better mechanism for publishing discoverable, third-party
statements about credibility signals?

bob wyman

Received on Saturday, 14 August 2021 15:35:07 UTC