Who is accountable for information?

There has been a lot going on with the whole wikipedia thing. Will and Christopher are just two of many who have a thought on the whole situation.
Update: Miguel Guhlin

One good thing that has come out of this is the discussions that I’ve been hearing in the hallways and in the staff room. Teachers who never paid attention to technology news are now talking about Wikipedia…for that I am grateful.

One teacher posed this question to me:

Is anyone accountable for the information that is presented on the internet?

What a great question and one that I think gets to the heart of what we are talking about in a Web 2.0 world.

My answer:

Yes, the user!

This is part of the mind set that needs to change in this new Web 2.0 world (for better or for worse). The user of information is now accountable for the information that they find. In world 1.0 a publisher or editor was accountable for the information that we read. They dictated what was published and what was left out. I remember teaching history with a book that left out what I felt were relevant events while other events were highlighted that I felt just took up paper.

In a Web 2.0 world, the reader is in control of the information and with that control comes some responsibility and accountability. Doug Johnson talks about taking responsibility for information on blogs, but I believe his post could be used for any site you find and use on the Internet. So what do we need to teach a 2.0 society? The user is in control, they can decide whether to believe a source or not, to make sure the source is credible or to just accept it at face value.

This is a revolutionary change that needs to take place. The old saying “Don’t believe everything you read.” Needs to be remixed to say “Don’t believe everything you find.” I’m still a believer in Wikipedia and believe it has a lot to offer users. But, do I take the information there as the truth? No. It’s a great resource that needs to be seen as just that, a resource. Only after confirming the author and information are credible do I claim that it is a reliable source. The skill that we need to teach society is to not believe everything you read and find. You can even start right here at this blog if you want. Am I a creditable resource? Only you the user can decide.