Well, I thought that seeing as I started talking about the credibility of both authors and sources of information in my first post, I would continue that discussion here.
The thing about having a blog means that anybody can write what they want, regardless of facts. Some can be commentaries or observations on a particular subject, or they can simply be more of an online diary, but many blogs are written by professionals or experts in a particular field, and the information you find may be a useful resource. This can also be applied to general news sites. Obviously the more reputable ones are the ones you have probably come across before, particularly with a hard copy of their paper, but with new ways of accessing news, such as news.google.com, you need to be a little careful in trusting what you read.
However, some useful tips when checking the credibility of information are:
1 – Check the Date – sometimes information can be really accurate and informative, but the thing with the internet is that data is permanent, and as such, what you are reading may be wildly out of date.
2 – Research the Author – yes, people often use aliases or don’t put up an identifiable name at all – but often there are professional journalists (or other professionals) that are just elaborating on their stories and will put up their name and as such, a quick Google search will allow you to recognise that this person can be a trusted source of information.
3 – Read comments – often other readers will point out inaccuracies (if there are any), or just generally comment on what is discussed in that post.
4 – Strength in Numbers: try to find the same general piece of information or idea somewhere else, so there is a supporting argument. Even if both of these are less than credible sources, there is a better chance that it’s not just some crazy person making things up on the spot if someone else is saying the same thing.
Of course, all in all, you should just use your common sense.
Yes – material to be found on the internet in general is becoming more and more credible, but there is still a lot of unverified information that people are posting all over the place.
But if something doesn’t seem right, then you should go with your gut.