Today I observed that my daughters look for information needed in their class to website. They search for things in Google and are lead by hyperlinks that engage them on the website. How will they know whether the websites are trustworthy?
Today I see website like Alexa where you can verify the popularity of the website. They help the website developers to learn how much their websites are able to engage with their user segment compared to their competitors and what different is done by their competitors. Effectively they help website creator to learn about the popularity of the website or the webpage. We decide whether the website is popular or not.
Today I read articles on LinkedIn pulse. and people write on different topics. How do i decide to trust author and so article ? Some of them are termed influencer. Does one become influencer due to number of followers and number of likes and shares or they have impacted a create a positive change in the lifestyle of the audience life? We can decide whether the author and article is popular or not.
Lot of times, we view articles and perceive them as solution or approach to solve the problems faced by us in real life and hence on reading article, we mark article liked. What does like of the article mean? Does that mean that I am going to implement the solution. I agree that there are authors who influence people to undergo a change in reality are on LinkedIn Pulse and they write article to reach a larger audience base. What stops a person to misrepresent and start become influencer in the virtual network. I am not sure to decide to trust a website or article or author on online world.
For example gossip websites have high PageRank scores, whose information mostly is not reliable. Some of the website with neutral opinion on similar topic and more accurate information are not popular and do not appear in search results are viewed by smaller audience.
When website had correct value for a fact and it might have only few facts that are correct, one can term website as trust-worthy.
I consider Wikipedia to be one of the trustworthy websites. The information has been contributed by the community. The community people own the responsibility for the correctness of the fact. There is mechanism to flag our incorrect information and this flag is visible to readers. Still, when there is revenue of a movie at box office specified, there might less means to verify the same. They also list different websites that have contribute or describe the topic and that adds more trust.
One place where one might want to ask for trustworthiness is while looking at annual reports of registered company. The company publishes their annual reports online and the link to report is shared with all shareholders. The company would claim that auditor has signed the annual report and it is a fact. Does that prevent some to upload a wrong version of the annual report by mistake?
• Website with High PageRank with High trustworthiness:
o Stack overflow and khan academy would fall in this category.
• Website with Low PageRank with high trustworthiness
o Alternate law forum would fall here.
• Website with High PageRank with low trustworthiness:
o You will see public discussion forums fall in this category.
If you are building your website, do check this article How to Build a Trustworthy Website. If you are reader, please be aware that website that has implemented the suggestion of the above link may be trustworthy most of the times and not trustworthy always.
I use some approaches to make a biased judgement of whether information in the website is trustworthy and this starts by Googling about website to view related website links as part of search results.
1. Does the website provides information about the author? Can I know who wrote article of the website contents?
2. Find the owners of the registered domain. What is the organization main purpose? Do they have main website and are they related?
3. What is the main purpose of this website? Why did someone try to put efforts to write and publish the same?
4. Does website targets audience that includes me? The website that comes abstract and complex for me is judged as not trustworthy( Do you make them wrong too?).
5. when website is referred by multiple other websites, I assume that website is trust worthy, unless found negative.
6. When information mentioned in website is found as part of press websites published by traditional media(say HBR), I assume content to be trustworthy.
7. I consider authors who are known to me through their Webinar or popular youtube video that I can listen to be trustworthy( may not be right always)..