What is this article all about? This is a simple experiment that has its seeds in this discussion.
Do Conservatives Yahoo? link.
A little bit about this discussion before we move on to the main topic. I knew I wanted to do something interesting and therefore I was being intentionally provocative, as much as possible. It looks like it definitely worked - I managed to rile up a lot of people. Another interesting thing I noted: My positive feedback rating which was around 75% went down to less than 50% within 24 hours. Calvin Tang told me that I had received 13 abuse reports in less than 24 hours. That tells me more about Newsvine readers than about myself. Not a single one of my comments in that debate could be termed "abuse" and surprisingly enough, not a single one was deleted. So, why do you think people sent "abuse reports"? Just because they don't agree with what I said? Just because I was being "negative" and I was passionately disagreeing and criticizing? It seems that people don't take too well to criticism to the point that when they see someone overtly critical, they deem it some kind of abuse. Anyway, I had no hard feelings since this was just a setup. My apologies to all those who were offended or hurt by me and my comments. Going back to the article, one of my main points was that Newsvine writers shouldn't just go around arbitrarily posting articles or half-baked hypotheses. "finalcut" was the one who actually gave me the perfect opening. In his comment, he said that it's the readers' responsibility to verify what they read. My point was we, as a writer, should be conscientious when writing since most readers aren't going to verify what they read. We simply don't have time to verify each and everything we read. To prove this, an experiment was launched. A 48 hour experiment that started with the birth of my new avatar - Kelly Jonesmith.
In the next 48 hours, as Kelly, I went and posted comments on 23 articles. So what, you ask? Well, each and every single one of those comments had false information, blatantly fabricated stuff in it. But, yet, people took it for truth. Read for yourself.
I'll post the article links below. Here is some of the "false information" I posted. I'll put them in double quotes ("") and also start it off with a "----". I'll also mention the number of up-votes I got for some comments. Gives you an idea how many people fell for it.
----"What the article fails to mention is that the forest cover in Brazil today is actually 20% more
than was it was in 1826 after the independence war with Portugal."
Completely made up. I think the opposite must be true.
----"Wow, this is just insane! What is ironic is that Lynne Cheney's brother-in-law's stepson himself was a CIA agent.
I wonder how they would've reacted if he had been outed while in office." (4 up-votes for this one)
I don't even know if Lynne Cheney has a brother-in-law.
----"Actually I'm not even sure why religion should be afraid of science or vice-versa. After all, Einstein once said: It is my religion that instills in me the confidence to contemplate the impossible. This was during the time when he himself was struggling with his theory of relativity, which ultimately landed him the Nobel Prize." (3 up-votes)
This one is funny since Einstein was not religious and he didn't win the Nobel Prize for the theory of relativity. He got it for the photoelectric effect.
----"Interesting, now it's English vs. Spanish. Back in 1895, Lincoln was actually in favor of making English, French, and German the three official languages for the country. It never worked out."
Lincoln died in 1865 and as far as I know, there was no such debate on language.
----"Actually, surprisingly enough, Walmart has the second highest proportion of employees that are homosexual, among the Fortune 500 companies. Top was Time-Warner Co."
----"Even Newt Gingrich when he was the Speaker of the House of the Representatives knew the names of all the representatives. Back then I think it was 400+ people." (2 up-votes)
----"I just don't get it why people think anyone can be worse than Saddam. It's pathetic. It's disgusting. Did you know he used to torture people all the time? One of the worst things he's ever done is to throw babies of anti-government" people into the paths of camels in camel races. I'm sure the liberals are now going to come down hard on me for saying that. But I'm just trying to put some perspective here. At least our leaders don't torture our own people." (4 up-votes)
This one made me fall out of my rocking chair laughing - people will believe almost anything you say about Saddam. Not that I am on Saddam's side, but it's amazing what people will believe.
----"Btw, did you know that Tom Coburn (R-Okla) who's mentioned in the article, actually fathered a child out of wedlock back when he was in college. Apparently, the mother was later paid off with money (and threats) and the story never came out."
Okay, evano questioned me on this one. I replied saying I read it on the Drudge Report. For that, someone voted me up! But even evano fell for it in this comment:
----"Apparently, back in the early 1940's the Nazis were in the process of testing such a high-speed missile that could reach up to 500 km/h. But in the aftermath of their defeat in WWII, the missile lab got dismantled and the documents disappeared somehow. No one knows who did it or where they ended up."
He thought it was interesting. I just hope he didn't believe it since I made it up.
----"After all, our founding fathers were all Christians and went to church regularly."
They must be rolling in their graves if they saw this.
----"did you know the guy who coined the term "Intelligent Design" was Karl Rove's sister-in-law's son who actually used to be an atheist up until college."
----"I agree with James Mack - citizenship is losing its meaning this way. It's unlike the Middle East countries where you can do everything, stay however long you want, but you can never become a citizen or vote.
Interestingly, in Qatar a woman's vote is equal to half a man's vote." (3 up-votes)
The part about Qatar is completely fabricated. Seems to me that out here people are willing to accept anything bad they hear about the Middle East or, could it be, the whole world?
----"Btw, did you know the above-mentioned Timmerman has stock in a company by the name of Altria - parent company of Philip Morris?"
AHB called me on it to which I responded with the Drudge Report maneuver for which I got up-voted.
----"I think one of the common statements thrown around is how the US accounts for only 5% of the world's population but causes 25% of the pollution. However, what they fail to mention is that when they say "25% of the pollution" they are only considering the pollution caused by vehicles. If you actually take into consideration the pollution caused by vehicles, industries (especially the coal burning stuff), animals, and people (1.3 billion) China accounts for more global pollution than the US. So, quit blaming the American lifestyle alone." (6 up-votes)
This is sad and funny at the same time. This was the comment I got the most votes on and sadly, it's completely fabricated. As far as I know the US is still the leading polluter with 25% or so. Fact is people accept what they like.
----"What's even more interesting is the fact the author of the linked article himself employs at least one household worker at his house who can barely speak any English."
You should read TerryG's response :)
----"Did you know the ancient Mesopotamians used to consider the bladder to be the most important organ of the body after the heart?"
----"Did you know in Uganda under the dictator Idi Amin every household had to subscribe to the daily national newspaper and they had to pay for it."
You should read Andrew Curling's response.
----"Did you know he was once sent back home from school for allegedly kissing a girl when he was in 3rd grade?"
----"Did you know back in the 1940's, US scientists did not believe that it was possible to visit the moon that century,
i.e., the 20th century. It was only after the Russian Sputnik launch gave us a big jolt, that Kennedy decided that it was going to be now, i.e., the 1960's."
----"By the way, did you know the first recorded use of a paperweight was back in ancient Iraq when the Mesopotamians used to use bricks to hold down their parchments?"
Miss Dev thought it was interesting and responded with another interesting fact.
----"Did you know that Stephen Hawking once said that if we find extra-terrestrial intelligence on some other planet, they will already have tribes? Something to that effect."
----"but did you know that of all large-sized US flags, 60% of them are actually made outside of the US? Incredible, all this fighting over a piece of cloth."
----"Btw, ancient Yoga had some techniques to achieve the same but apparently it got lost in history. Some combination of yoga and ayurveda I think."
Of course, how could I resist commenting on "finalcut's" article since he provided me with a great opportunity. Here goes:
----"Btw, did you know the "PATRIOT" name was coined by F Lewis Libby - Cheney's chief of staff. He apparently got the inspiration after reading a book by some Chinese philosopher, don't remember his name."
So much for Kelly. As Rhine Cyrus, I commented a few. Surprisingly, it brought my rating from below 50% to over 83%. So I get PF ratings for seeding Newsvine with lies, prevarications, and fabrications. Here are some of Rhine's comments:
----"Anyway, be glad that you aren't living back in the 30's - after the depression and before WWII, the tax rate was over 40%."
---"Did you know back in 1947 after the war and the depression, they actually introduced a stipulation in the founding document that the annual raise of any employee would be capped to 3% maximum?"
----"Did you know that at least 70% of kids in England under the age of 12 have had diarrhea at least once after they went to a fast food joint in the last year? This was a study conducted by Cambridge University on students in Liverpool, England." (4 up-votes)
----"Did you know less than 10% of kids under the age of 14 in the US have piggy banks?"
----"Did you know back in the 80's he [Bill Gates] used to get by on 3 hours for sleep for weeks at a stretch? He is pretty amazing."
----"Did you know that a study conducted by German and US researchers concluded that it's much easier to lose weight faster when you are tracking weight in kilograms rather than pounds? This was found to be true for both Americans and Europeans."
----"Did you know, for the short period of a month, after Hawaii joined the US, it was the only state with mandatory health insurance?"
----"Did you know, that in Southern Piedmont region, the number of toxic particles per million (ppm) has actually decreased by 50% in the last 10 years?"
miasma commented saying he/she now knows.
This is the icing on the cake. Had to save it for the last.
----"Did you know Indiana University had the first reported death on campus back in 1818? Case of binge drinking apparently."
C. M. Peters
You should go up against Ken Jennings on Jeaopardy.
Thanks, C. M. Peters, you made my day ;-) Ken probably would tell me the truth that Indiana University was
founded ony in 1820.
At this point in time, Rhine's PF rating is up to 83% for posting all those untruths, a long way up from below 50% where he went after posting all those critical remarks. Meanwhile, Kelly has 0 articles, 0 seeds, and 23 fabricated facts. She has a 100% PF rating. Point is - ratings shouldn't guide your ability to read/comprehend/criticize any article. And, when you write, write with a conscience. Don't take the easy way out. Don't rely on half-baked research or hypotheses. Finally, don't rely on the readers' abilities to discern the truth from fiction. That's just a cop-out.
Sorry to all that I offended. I'll try to go to the articles that I commented on and tell them the truth.
Have a great weekend all. Time for my afternoon nap. Tomorrow is my 77th birthday.
Rhine (and Kelly)
A Liberal Argument for a National Sales Tax.
Coca-Cola Boosts Director Pay
College Girl Dies in Her Sleep at Indiana University
Wake Up with the King... and a Triple Bypass
Teens Come Up Short When Asked About Money
How I Work: Bill Gates
Why 'French Women Don't Get Fat'
Mass. May Make Health Insurance Mandatory
Charlotte, NC - Does the water taste funny?
Do Conservatives Yahoo?
Greenpeace: McDonald's Harming the Amazon
Papers: Cheney Aide Says Bush OK'd Leak Associated Press
New finding may question Christianity
82 percent say make English state's official language
Wal-Mart sells "Brokeback" DVDs despite protests
Grand Jury to Hear McKinney Run-In Case Associated Press
Saddam's Crimes Pale in Comparison to Those of the Neocons
The new lies about women's health
Stereotyping the Christian
Why Intelligent Design Cannot Win
Non-Citizens Expected to Get Voting Rights in NYC
Super-speedy underwater weapon: does the US have one?
Man Lights Up To Protest Smoking Ban
Why Americans Hate This "Immigration" Debate
Grow your own bladder
Do New Free Dailies Mean Sun Is Setting For Paid Newspapers?
DHS Official Charged in Online Seduction
Which is more important: Pure research or a return trip to the moon?
Paperweight Severs Calif. Teacher's Hand
Rethinking Tribalism, Chapter One: It's In the Genes
Protesters put Mexican flag above US flag in California
New male contraceptive clears hurdle
Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement