Five reporting tips from Chapter 9: Trolls, Spin, and the Boundaries of Trust

  1. Avoid anonymity! Always sign your name alongside your work. “Credibility stems not just from smart arguments; it also comes froma willingness to stand behind those arguments when a compelling reason to stay anonymous is absent.”
  2. Don’t feed the troll! What’s a troll?? I had no idea either. As defined by Ward Cunningham’s Wiki: “A troll is deliberately crafted to provoke others with the intention of wasting their time and energy. A troll is a time theif…Trolls can be identified by their disengagement from a conversation or argument. They do not believe what they say, but merely say it for effect.” The best thing to do when you have someone trolling your work online is to ignore it. That way the troll won’t waste your time and eventually give up trolling.
  3. Look out for spin! This was a term I recognized but in case you are unfamiliar with it, Wikipedia defines it as: “putting events or other facts, especially of those with political or legal significance, into contexts favoring oneself or one’s client or cause, at least in comparison to opponents.” Make sure to avoid directly advertising for your interviewee and include other opinions in your work.
  4. Use credible sources! If you find an interesting story or quote from an anonymous source, you should always check the information with a credible human source or document.
  5. Be careful for cutting and pasting! Make sure you get the main gist of the information if you choose to cut and paste from a source (try not to take out one viewpoint without mentioning the other) and always attribute your source. It is best to link to the entire article or source as opposed to cutting and pasting segments.
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