Dan Gillmor's Guardian column, "Andrew Breitbart and the unwilling suspension of disbelief," explains his theory of online credibility and talks about how to be appropriately skeptical of different sources. Gillmor is dubious about anonymous comments, though he's careful to defend the value of anonymous speech.
Breitbart will never rate as low as some people on my BS scale, because he stands behind his own words. I respect him for that much, unlike the anonymous commenters who hide in the virtual bushes to snipe at others. Anonymous sources in journalists' stories are generally contemptible for the same reason, especially when their role is to attack. Our disdain should extend in those cases to the journalists who grant this favour; they are doing their own reputations no good at all.
This is not an attack on anonymity, incidentally. We need to preserve people's ability to speak without being personally identified in many cases. Without anonymity, for example, many whistleblowers will not expose the crimes of governments and large enterprises - just one reason to preserve it. I will discuss this more fully here soon. But my bias in discourse is that we should stand behind our own words, and that we should encourage others to do the same.
Credibility is a hard-won asset, and all too easy to forfeit. Breitbart's credibility has improved in the wake of the Weiner affair. Will it move into positive territory? I will not hold my breath, but I will hope so.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
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