Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trusted people

In general, you're more likely to trust people you know and people who are experts in particular fields than the average unknown layperson.

Of course, people you know directly, however willing, may not actually be very knowledgeable in the areas you want to find out something about. And experts are not always at your disposal. Even if they are, they may charge a fine sum for their knowledge providing services.

So what's so wrong with a Google search? Well, you may not find a suitable answer to your question has been published on the web. In that case you need to look at other resources, including perhaps (shock!) asking people. And there comes the dilemma. Who do you ask? Sure, there are forums, messages boards and mailing lists, but why would anyone answer your question anyway? What's in it for them?

Even if your question has been answered on the web somewhere, how can you trust it? Chances are it's not written by anyone you know directly, so you'll be looking for other signs of credibility to assess your level of trust. These may include a personal profile, independent ratings and recommendations, possibly links other resources to back up an answer. Are they genuinely helping you or are they trying to sell something? Or fake their expertise? Or waste your time perhaps?

Should it really be this complicated to get trusted answers?

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