Web Does Not Know About Right And Wrong

Should Net forget? Nicholas Carr asks this in the context of the new SEO effort by New York Times. This is causing past articles with wrong information to rise in search results.

Should the wrong information be forgotten by the Web? It seems very tempting to ask search engines to do so. However, I think we are making the wrong person responsible. Can the search engine every know authenticity or credibility of the information? Today, all a search engine does is calculations, depending on how rest of the Web treats a piece of information. We cannot ask it to identify wrong information and act differently on it.

There are other questions as well. What if I am looking for the wrong information? We use the information from search engines today to build a lot of things from it, like events. By skipping certain information these events can get lost.

The best way, in my opinion, is to ask the person who knows about the misinformation to notify the reader about it. Even direct him/her to the correct information if possible. New York Times should have an addendum or errata or something so that the reader knows it is wrong information. There might be ambiguous cases as well where certain information is time sensitive, and might get invalid later. The only way all this can be handled is by providing the context along with the information.

It is responsibility of the entities who have the knowledge as well about wrong and right information. Search engines and Web are not them, today humans are.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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