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  1. #1
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    Internet research for the careful citizen




    BEST PRACTICES
    Internet research for the careful citizen

    By Kathleen Atkins

    Almost everyone has friends or family who forward urban legends or political tall tales to their entire contacts lists and many exasperated recipients have considered closing whole e-mail accounts to stop the flow of that frequently annoying communication.

    If you feel moved to action, here's a way to combat inflations, distortions, and untruths responsibly within your personal network (or for a broader audience): research those claims and send the facts back to your bad-news correspondents.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/best-practices/internet-research-for-the-careful-citizen/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    A point too obvious for words?

    Thanks for the article, including 2 particular observations--that some people do not want the correct story (as stated by the Snopes editors themselves); and that some of the fakers do use 'checked with Snopes', knowing that few people (and especially not those who like the story as it is) will bother to check.

    However, one aspect of a great many such frauds may be so obvious that it's overlooked. That is, in most cases that I've come across, there is no reason on earth to think that we'd be finding out about it via bulk e-mails. In almost all the major cases (scare stories of one sort or another), the issue would have been in the public media with bells on. Yet people seem to not consider this oddity, even before passing on the same material.

    There is a peculiar sense in which we put ourselves in a world of our own in going online, in which the common sense of the 'real world' often disappears ... because the real world itself disappears, replaced by a temporary cyber-reality. It would do some good to consider this at times, catch our breaths, and think again.

  3. #3
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    The Internet Archive: Wayback Machine at http://archive.org/web/web.php provides access to old stuff and old versions of stuff on the internet - often useful for tracking the evolution of an item from initial posting to current edition.
    Last edited by m7842g; 2012-03-28 at 04:55.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to m7842g For This Useful Post:

    Dick-Y (2012-03-28)

  5. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    It would be nice if I could muster up the nerve to tell all those folks that send me [stupid] political emails to just stop already.
    ...You know the kind I'm talking about.

  6. #5
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    didn't go far enough

    Your article should also include a followup by the recipients of these urban legend mailings with suggestions of appropriate wordings...I generally send a link to the snopes site, and try to be nice when doing so, but SOMETIMES I can't help myself, and if it is a really outrageous mailing, I will send it to all of the people copied in to the email also.
    Betsy

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