In this post, I will talk about common mistakes people make when using the Internet for research. The “research” could be anything from what phone to buy to fact-checking information you heard on the news.
Please note everything I say are my own opinions or things I have observed.
Only using social media as a source of information.
Social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Yahoo Answers, Disqus) are very popular places to get information from others. You will find the users on social media have wildly varying opinions. Unfortunately, most of these answers are given with little to no facts to back them up (a few do though).
In addition, social media tends to attract trolls who try to sow discord. Usually they gather like-minded minions who all-at-once gang up on someone they decide not to like that day. This wastes a researcher’s time, since he has to filter out irrelevant posts.
Summary: Occasionally you will find a good user on social media with quality information that is not just an opinion, but from my experience most social media answers are quickly written and are of poor quality.
“Everyone says the same thing, so it must be true!”
This one is a very common mistake. I even fell into this “everyone else says it” trap when I was younger.
This is when you do research and find a lot of people giving the same exact (or close) answer, and you believe what they are saying to be true just because everyone agrees. The problem? Everyone saying the same thing does not equal a true answer.
A lot of times the majority is not correct. How do you know that 2 or 3 people didn’t give misinformation online a while back, and everyone else jumped on the “band wagon” automatically believing what they were told and repeating the same to others?
You must conduct a lot of research – and may even experiment for yourself – to verify other people’s information. I do this a lot when solving IT problems. Some information will be accurate and others will be junk.
This applies to people who like to tell others they are “cherry-picking” facts. By saying this, they are really saying, “Everything you stated goes against all the other ‘evidence’ we have, or what people in general believe. So you must be incorrect.” That is nonsense. It is possible that a few can be right and the majority can be wrong. It completely depends upon the situation.
Summary: Facts (or science, as some people might say) is not made by consensus. Just because everyone agrees, does not mean its true.
Blindly trusting information obtained on Wikipedia without verifying.
I’ve observed many people quoting Wikipedia like it’s the Bible and can give no wrong answers. I must disagree.
I have read things (e.g. health & politics) on Wikipedia that were at the very least biased and at worst propaganda. This is due to literally anyone being able to edit most articles on Wikipedia.
I had one Wikipedia article that made a bold claim, but when I clicked the link going to the supposed source of this information, the link didn’t even exist. Someone just made up stuff and gave a phony link to make it look good to people who didn’t bother to verify.
Even if the article’s author is telling the truth, a self-appointed “fact-checker” on Wikipedia may erase their edit due to a severe bias.
Summary: I find Wikipedia useful when it comes to topics such as PC/Console/Server technology or basic information about someone popular (e.g. their age & net worth). Anything else (e.g. politics, science, history, the Bible, etc.) tends to attract people with a major bias to intentionally give disinformation to others.
“Professionals (e.g. doctors, politicians, scientists) can be trusted to give accurate information on the Internet.”
Unfortunately, people who should “know the facts” don’t always know the facts. Sometimes they guess while claiming they “know for sure”, they may assume information they received is correct (without verifying), or they just plain make up information to support their agenda.
This means if you automatically believe information without verifying “because my doctor said so” or “my nice newscaster in a suit & tie said so”, you may find that the information was not as accurate as you thought and this may lead to trouble for you.
Of course, I am not saying all professionals do this, but it is a very common occurrence (e.g. fake news via the mainstream media). This would also include any “fact checking” websites out there. In my opinion, the majority of stuff they tell you from their “fact-checking” is plain disinformation. I do not trust those sites at all.
Summary: Always verify information you receive, even if it comes from a “trusted” source. That source may be giving accurate data, but you should still do your due diligence and verify.
Posted in General, Internet and Servers
I have written before about being cautious concerning any VPN providers who claim they are not keeping logs.
Just this morning, I was sent an email concerning several VPN providers who had their data dumped onto the Internet, proving they had been keeping logs while claiming they do not keep logs.
This is more proof that you should never trust a “no logging” VPN service to not keep logs.
Now am I saying that using a paid VPN is useless? No, but you need to be careful which VPN service you are using. In my experience, very few are legitimate, and even the legitimate ones are probably logging enough data to eventually identify you.
VPN services are in it for the money and most will say anything (e.g. “no logs”) to make a quick buck. Not to mention they could be selling your user data on the side – a double-whammy.
Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Security, Software, VPN
𝓟𝓻𝓪𝔂 𝓯𝓸𝓻 𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓝𝓪𝓽𝓲𝓸𝓷 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓲𝓽𝓼 𝓛𝓮𝓪𝓭𝓮𝓻𝓼𝓱𝓲𝓹!
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” – Psalm 33:12a (NASB)
“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NASB)
Posted in Holiday