which texts you can trust most

knowledge is, in most basic definition, what we think is true.

we, humans, exchange knowledge mostly by texts.

but we also like to get things our way which is not always the truth.

therefore not all texts we read are equally trustworthy.

here is a guideline how much and why you should trust texts.

i am using 0 – 5 trust scale, in which 5 is absolute truth, and 0 is complete

 

scientific papers

example: anything on pubmed

trust: 4.5

why:

– result is practical effect, like machine or cure;

– writers with least bias who are trained to eliminate bias;

– they have the biggest number of people approving them (editors);

– writes and editors are best trained;

– they operate under most tested rules.

 

internal financial & business reports

example: sales report

trust: 4

why:

– performance is decision making;

– little bias, but more than in science;

– severe punishment for error.

 

news articles

example: new york times article

trust: 3

why:

– performance is popularity, not a machine or cure;

– indirect bias from general cultural pressure;

– not enough editors;

– little punishment for error.

 

press releases

example: bmw press release

trust: 1.5

why:

– performance is popularity;

– extreme bias;

– almost no editors;

– almost no punishment for lie or truth bending.

 

blogs

example: any personal blog

trust: 1

why:

– performance is popularity;

– absolute bias;

– no editors;

– no punishment for lie or truth bending.

 

advertising

example: coca cola ad

trust: 0.1

why:

– performance is selling products with poor quality due to competition;

– products that really solve problems do not need advertising as much;

– most extreme strong self interest;

– no editors, as advertising supervision protects only against obvious and extreme lies;

– no punishment for lie or truth bending.

 

notes:

since publishing technologies are free and available to everybody, main difference between what is referred to blog and news is editing.

news publishers have editors, while i would refer to blogs as writers without editors.

difference between blog and news publisher is not if they use blogging software, but if there is an approval process which involves professional editors.



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