Email Response – Rory wants to know about my sources

Hey Bob,

Firstly, thank you for your pieces on developing websites and the things you went through with your previous endeavors. Alongside that, I want to let you know that your commentary here has a very similar affect on me to what you seem to convey you feel from Joel. Best wishes.

I wanted to get your thoughts on something. Do you think that its true that people on the internet are avoiding dissenting opinions? I for one have subscriptions to a number of RSS feeds from a variety of topics that range from comp-sci to evolution to archaeologies and would assume that other people do as well, but how realistic am I being?

Anyways, thanks for being cool.

I’ll buy you a beer when im in the valley

Rory

Thanks for the kind words!

To answer your questions, your stance is similar to mine. I choose to subscribe to a number of RSS and ATOM feeds, I have more than 30 podcasts and other subscriptions around here that all have a wide variety of views. I subscribe to newsletters about HL2, UT3 and Ogre, but also Warcraft and a number of other games; I subscribe to UFO, conspiracy theory news letters; I subscribe to three republican feeds that have rarely had anything intelligent to say beyond “Obama’s not the right choice because he [insert ironically ignorant statement here].”

I too have heard that there are polls showing that people are avoiding opinions that aren’t the same as their own, reinforcing their own beliefs. It’s a bit far-fetched to believe that these shitty surveys with sample sizes of 30 people can be applied to the population of the internet. Keep in mind that there is still a large portion of the population of the world that still has no access to the interwebs. Its easier to just make shit up though.

I think you bring up a very important thing though. We need to have multiple sources for our information; relying upon Wikipedia for our information is a terrible idea. There is nothing wrong with Wikipedia, its just a single point of failure. You should have a number of sources that you get anything from. Opinions may be a lot like assholes, for whatever reason… but the more qualified input you are provided with, the more probable you are to be correct. Feeling good about them doesn’t appear to be related to being correct.