Who’s fooling whom?

We believe what we read on-line, even when we know it is false. Months ago, I blogged The Dilution of Truth on the Internet. I pointed out that people tend to trust what they read on a computer — sometimes without much thought. Today, I found that the problem goes deeper.

In reading the Slashdot RSS feed today, I read an entry entitled Human-Powered Spam Filtering. The article pointed to this brilliant web site. Read it. It is lovely. It is also a joke. No, I mean a real joke.

It is not so interesting that it is a well done spoof. What interests me is that even after someone pointed out that it was a joke, people just ignore that, and continued to ignore that fact. (I won’t spoil your fun. Read the web site.) Do we just not read? Or is the debate more important than the truth? As I write this there are 297 comments, posted.

I was going to end this with the line. “I think we’re all Bozos on this bus.” It is from “The Firesign Theater.” Or is it? I decided to ask the Internet. A search for “We are all bozos on this bus” turned up someone who claims it is from a “Cheech and Chong … record.” — search for that phrase and “chong” and you will turn up that erroneous reference. Checking www.firesigntheatre.com not only shows that indeed the quote is from them, but there is a picture of the album cover and an MP3 snippet with the phrase.

Nevertheless… sometimes I think we are.

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