W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credibility@w3.org > January 2021

Re: Why has CredWeb been silent when it is now needed more than ever?

From: Mark Chipman <markchipman@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 15:24:47 -0700
Message-ID: <CAKEHajWqmB-r=gmjXPzxOOLUtFsYwM4LGrk3Fy+hsRiaAACmLw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Cc: Christopher Guess <cguess@gmail.com>, Credible Web CG <public-credibility@w3.org>
Hello All:

Interesting discussion.  Lot's of good points made.

After reflecting on an extraordinarily dishonest world in so many respects
over this general topic, during the last several years, one of the top
things that comes to mind in this subject is the old phrase "*truth is in
the eyes of the beholder*".

Technology probably will never resolve the primary problem that *biases
will mostly trump facts* for most people (pun wasn't intended there).
Depending on one's own circles of influence (those where individuals own
truths are going to be sought) is how information is going to be determined
or deemed as "credible"; heavily drawn upon from one's own resources.  Thus
true or pure facts will vary from source to source and remain fluid based
on situations, wealth, social environments, age, regional and national
politics in play, religious views, one's own emotional state, etc.

Might I make the suggestion that the focus of CredibleWeb not be
establishing truthiness of sources by means of weeding out disinformation
(besides, who decides this)... but rather to focus on information's *chain
of custody*, where the primary focus is now on tracking sources... similar
to a timeline, but not based solely on time, but rather on who establishes
what will be considered factual and when each of this happens.

This angle resides in the need to know where does information come from; to
establish one's own levels of believability of inclusive facts whose
relevance is based on who or what entities are involved along the way with
the chain of custody of said information.  I generally find myself
believing some sources way more than others, within the global information
cesspool, a place where someone's always going to take the opposite side of
an issue.


-Mark Chipman

On Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 11:55 AM Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> wrote:

> This topic is quite relevant and current for the SocialCG,  as Sebastian
> said.
> I suggest people interested in cross-platform social media moderation
> attend their meeting tomorrow
> <https://www.w3.org/wiki/SocialCG#Next_meeting>.  Members of CredWeb are
> welcome to attend, I'm told. It's using a platform called BBB which you may
> want to get familiar with before the meeting.
> Related, folks might want to check out eunomia <https://eunomia.social>,
> which includes modifying mastodon for better handling of misinformation.
> Sebastian and I were at a talk they gave a couple days ago.
>       - Sandro
> On 1/22/21 12:54 PM, Christopher Guess wrote:
> Hello everyone, it’s been awhile since I last commented on this channel,
> but now that the tone is turning down a bit on the fact checking side I
> wanted to say a few words and share a thought or two in response to the
> ideas on this thread.
> First, around moderation: The first thing to remember, as we’ve been
> reminded here, is that the W3C is a global organization, so any talk of
> what is acceptable to moderate should be looked at in a global context.
> This of course presents difficulties due to the fact that morality and
> cultural standards vary wildly between different countries, regions, and
> communities.
> It’s been mentioned that a user-based voting and self-regulation protocol
> system could be a remedy here, but what’s being proposed, to my ears,
> actually sounds exactly like the system that Parler had implemented. In
> their system any flagged post would have five random accounts assigned to
> vote on if it was appropriate. This, as we’ve seen, did not work out in the
> long run for them. It would instead lead to the most active users (those
> most radical in my experience) being the lone voices of “reason” in the
> forums. Even Reddit, which at least has a somewhat heavier, but still
> distributed hand, eventually had to step in and shut down the most vile
> subreddits due to the moderators condoning the actions of the users.
> Second: When it comes to protocols over platforms, I have to ask, if I was
> working at a social media organization: how does adopting a protocol in any
> way limit my liability? Agreeing on standards to share information does
> nothing to prevent someone in a country where Section 230 doesn’t exist
> from suing me for allowing the information on my system in the first place.
> Though I am not a lawyer, I imagine saying, “Well, someone else said it was
> ok,” is almost certainly not going to hold up in UK or German court. Given
> a lack of liability shielding I can’t imagine any for-profit
> (non-Fediverse) social network giving up their information via a global
> protocol unless they get something out of it.
> OK, so, what do we do about this? The honest answer from my perspective
> is: I find more problems with a standards-based approach than solutions. In
> the end we are at best preaching to the choir, and at worst screaming into
> the void. Those people that use platforms that would follow such standards
> are the least likely to actually need the moderation in the first place. I
> can’t imagine StormFront or the successor to Parler or Gab caring even a
> little about a white paper and what Twitter does. If anything, it gives
> them more followers. The real way forward, as I see it, is beyond the scope
> of this chain, but involves sociologists, economists and a severe change to
> 1st amendment interpretation in the United States.
> Instead, because this group does care, perhaps we scope this down and bit
> of a smaller piece of the pie? While the W3C scope is global, perhaps this
> group can focus locally. Instead of claiming to be a panacea for all
> moderation issues, focus on just getting the Mastodon system on board. The
> system already shares data by default, and gives the runners of each
> instance full moderation control. Essentially, by putting in a sharable
> moderation system we’re piggybacking on what has already been built and
> standardizing that while expanding on it. It may not be the perfect system,
> but it’s a starting point at least and 1.) Already has buy-in by
> programmers and 2.) is something actively in use at scale already and 3.)
> is open source, so the whole process can happen in the open without the
> smoke and mirrors of dealing with the large tech companies.
> We make it a point to not even mention we want to be an example to the
> large social media orgs, or part of a wider solution, but that instead,
> we’re partnering with groups that we share values with to do just a bit of
> good in the world. If it works, perhaps we can move forward from there, but
> even getting some solution into the Mastodon protocol and standards written
> for that single use case would be a huge leap forward.
> Thanks for reading, and I hope you all stay safe, sane, and have a
> wonderful weekend.
> -Chris
> -Christopher Guess
> cguess@gmail.com
> US/WhatsApp/Signal: +1 262.893.1037
> PGP: AAE7 5171 0D81 B45B – https://keybase.io/cguess
> On Jan 22, 2021, 10:51 AM -0500, Tom Jones <thomasclinganjones@gmail.com>
> <thomasclinganjones@gmail.com>, wrote:
> Question - I assumed that this group was responsible for CredMan - is that
> correct or does that live somewhere else?
> Be the change you want to see in the world ..tom
> On Fri, Jan 22, 2021 at 7:26 AM Dan Brickley <danbri@google.com> wrote:
>> On Fri, 22 Jan 2021 at 14:54, Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org> wrote:
>>> On 1/21/21 8:53 PM, Bob Wyman wrote:
>>> I could go on at length, but first I'd like to ask if you think that
>>> this kind of protocol-based solution, as an alternative and complement to
>>> platform-based systems or standards, is something that could or should be
>>> explored in this group. Is this the right context in which to explore and
>>> develop such protocol-based approaches?
>>> I think that's more or less the group's mission.
>>> The problem is, we don't have people participating in the group who are
>>> building such systems. It's generally a mistake to try to create a standard
>>> without participation from people developing viable products which will use
>>> the standard. I've helped people make that mistake several times in the
>>> past and it's not good.  It's somewhat related to the architecture
>>> astronaut problem.
>>> <https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2001/04/21/dont-let-architecture-astronauts-scare-you/>
>>> I am, myself, building such a system. Unfortunately, I don't currently
>>> know anyone else who is. I also don't know if it can become a viable
>>> product.  Until there are several other people who are independently
>>> building this stuff, I don't see a way for standards-type work to proceed.
>> That sounds about right.
>> I still believe a big part of the difficulty here is also that online
>> credibility is kind of an arms race, so those seeking to be recognized as
>> credible will be paying close attention to any putative standard or
>> protocol, which makes developing such things collaboratively in an open way
>> problematic.
>>> The CG has at times been an interesting forum for discussion, though,
>>> and some good has come out of that. Maybe there's value to re-starting
>>> meetings like that.
>> Even just as a meeting place for folks who want to find like-minded
>> collaborators, a community group has value...
>> All the best,
>> Dan
>>> Most recently, I was imagining us having presentations by folks
>>> developing credibility products, and maybe coming up with a review process.
>>> In particular, I was thinking about how we could push every project on the
>>> "why should people trust you?" question.  A proper architecture (like CAI)
>>> can answer this question in a way that closed apps can't. Crunchbase has
>>> 500+ companies with the keyword "credibility", 9000+ with the keyword
>>> "trust", and 59 with the keyword "misinformation". [I haven't gone through
>>> the 59. Clearly some like snopes and blackbird are about combating misinfo;
>>> others, like Natalist, are just making reference to how there is
>>> misinformation in their target market.]
>>> Is there a story that would get, say, 20 of those 59 to be interested in
>>> interoperating? I've only talked to a few of them, and I wasn't able to
>>> think of a serious argument for how their business would benefit from going
>>> open-data. It might be worth trying some more.
>>>         -- Sandro

- Mark
Received on Saturday, 23 January 2021 22:25:16 UTC

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