How much do you know about source credibility?

When you produce a message that is full of obvious inaccuracies (e.g. sex trade began in Cambodia in 1999) how can you think that people involved in funding decisions regarding your organization will not see them and judge your credibility by them?

At least learn something about it before you claim expertise.



  1. 0 Votes

    I know a fair amount about sourcing, I’m a senior Wikipedia editor with 10,000s of edited articles.

    I establish credibility several ways, but the bottom line is always: Do I believe it? That’s important, because there are liars in every field, and people who simply miss the big picture. And everyone misses the big picture, sometimes.

    Mechanical things I check:

    1) Does the person write proper English? Quite a few people with … shall we say … challenged thinking … also don’t spell well and have a poor understanding of grammar.

    2) Does the person’s writing read easily? Do the thoughts connect? Are they just trying to convince themselves, or do they understand how other people might be thinking? One clue that a writer is on unsure ground is when they use cliches and bombastic language. “To those in the know, there can’t be any question that … blah, blah, blah.”

    3) Is the source published in book form by a major publisher? It’s true that all kinds of not-so-great non-fiction is published … but it’s 100 times worse on the Internet, where in many places people can just lie their heads off, and there’s no one to stop them. If a professional editor has reviewed a work, and the reputation of a publishing house is on the line, a book source is much more likely to be credible.

    • 0 Votes

      There’s no need to give me a thumbs down on this, lol. I was only presented with the title of the question which appeared to ask how, in general, source credibility was established. Lololol.

    • 0 Votes

      Its nice that you are “a senior Wikipedia editor with 10,000s of edited articles” and your credibility detection methods would certainly detect specific types of errors, though missing others. And my question is how you can miss obvious absurdities? I don’t care who you are. Do you really believe that prostitution began in any country, let alone Cambodia, in 1999? If the author has reasonable English and is not bombastic, does that excuse “passing” on it when it contains an obviously incorrect statement? Prostitution has existed all over the world from pre-history on. I do not wish to get into a credentials debate, but my research on sex work in Cambodia is funded by the US State Department and by the United Nations. But that does not excuse me from missing absurd statements, or excuse it if I were to defend them when pointed out to me. Human Trafficking is a terrible crime, but it occurs mainly with adult laborers such as in factory work, in domestic servitude, and in seafaring labor. Having 5 year old girls in sex work is truly awful, and I have seen this and reported it.
      My detailed research reports available on the web at:
      But such cases (5 yr olds) are exceptionally rare and are discovered rapidly using our methodology. Anyone who knows anything about sex work or Cambodia knows sex work has existed for centuries at a minimum. So that statement alone should have set off alarm bells, but apparently did not.
      In fairness, perhaps it was a busy day and I can understand that. But one just admits it was missed if that is the case.

    • 0 Votes

      Yeah, last I counted, it was over 30,000.

      Anyhow, holster your guns: When I wrote, I didn’t see your entire question. Nothing at all about the prostitution! I was presented with a window with a short question that I interpreted as a young student asking how they could make decisions about what was reliable on the Internet.

      So my answer actually had nothing to do with your question! This site seems to have a couple software bugs that need to be nipped.

      I actually don’t know anything about prostitution in Cambodia, or anywhere else, so I’m perfectly willing to accept your comments as valid. I simply don’t know the answers.


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