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How to Avoid (or Deal With) Bullshit on the Internet

TIME MANAGEMENT

1) assume that everybody is trying to sell you something, no matter where you are. (Note that it is often in the links, picture links, etc.)

a) your attention is worth money, it is part of what is being sold. Clicks pay the hosting bills. 

b) emotional manipulation: it is in every headline. You’re not paranoid, they ARE out to get you. 

c) even design is intentional to varying degrees, often if you accidentally click on something you might help pay their bills – some ads are pay per click – sometimes I wonder if that’s part of why pages load in a stuttered fashion causing you to click the wrong thing. That could be paranoia, but see point above.

-even if you’re clicking on another page on the same website, that engagement is tracked and is potentially showing you’ve interacted with more content on that webpage, so there may be limited desire to fix a poorly optimized webpage that reloads just as you’re clicking and takes you to the wrong page.

>this does irritate people, though, so if you’re designing a site pleeeease figure out how to fix this.

1.1) marketing, copywriting, branding are everywhere. The goal of a headline is to get you to click or read the next sentence. 

1.2) Social media is designed for quick-hit dopamine, not to mention the addiction of waiting on someone for responses when you’re desperate for the information they have. 

What can you do about this? Well, be aware. Set up reminders (sticky notes or index cards?) that remind you to limit/turn off these influences. Waiting is not productive: do something else at the same time, like watch an instructional video or listen to music and browse your website.

1.3) Tabs: now that you have so many, maybe you’re like me and end up with 30 or 100 all of the things you want to get back to. Eventually, this will become a trap. Cut your losses. You’ll get back to them if they matter. Come up with a better system and save them as you go (being aware that these things don’t last forever) or just admit you have more interest than time. There’s nothing worse for productivity than looking for that one window that has the two or three things you were working on, switching back and forth and getting distracted. Keep windows to a minimum, close out research when you’re finished with it.

VALIDITY

2) recognise that sources vary in validity

a) don’t assume that you know better than everybody else. We all get fooled, believe what we want to believe, choose to believe things that are convenient or lazily don’t look things up because they are probably true. Don’t upvote or retweet something unless you have personally researched it. If you know it to be untrue, tell people that it’s apocryphal and show them proof. It’s up to them if they want it or not. DON’T get bogged down in arguments. Never wrestle with a trollpig. 

b) I know it takes too much time to verify everything but we should try to verify things that come up again and again rather than assuming they are correct. 

c) I am not going to bother complaining about politics because politics has always been a realm of untruths, assume politicians of all stripes are lying, acting, saying one thing and doing another, never assume that a politician means what they are saying and assume they don’t and it will make sense

2.1) just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s accurate

a) just because something is accurate doesn’t mean it’s popular.

-I think I should shy away from giving examples here. Recent examples are too politically divisive, historical examples are unlikely to be useful.

-I hope we all want to base our worldviews, actions, etc on truths rather than fictions but I know that’s probably not the case for all. While many feel it is appropriate to take a fair amount on Faith, others feel that a George Michael song is not an appropriate basis for e.g. public policy.

Wham! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. | “I’d like to table a motion to discuss whether to touch your body.”

PURCHASING HABITS, FRUGALITY

3) if you spend money on the internet you should figure out where the original product is coming from, keeping in mind AliExpress and eBay are often quite cheap discount sites for general shit and dropshippers just resell that shit for a higher price.

a) obviously this does not apply to everybody since for some people it makes no sense to spend an hour saving five dollars, but that might be hundreds of dollars across time if you learn how to find the right product elsewhere.

b) this can still be hit and miss, and there is a tradeoff to getting a product right now versus getting a product from overseas that many people have a distorted experience of now, due to Amazon prime.

:: READ and RESEARCH

3.1) On many cheaper sites, you should be aware of the potential for illegitimate actors to proliferate: you should make sure to be purchasing from established sellers, a new seller or even an older seller with reviews for cheap products that don’t match the more expensive product being sold unreasonably cheap is a sure tip-off of fraud.

a) You should ideally be looking for a shop that has been open for years, with reviews closer to 100% and ideally with good reviews for the specific product you’re looking for. Sometimes it pays to be suspicious of a gap in sales and then a return to selling, as well. Stores do get hacked!

b) Make sure you’re reading the ad. Drunk or stoned shopping is terrible for this. Sometimes a word or two indicates “box only” or “as is,” “for parts, not working” – make sure you are keeping your eyes out for these types of labels. I know everyone is pressed for time, but do you really want to spend the time waiting for the wrong product to arrive at a ridiculous price instead of a great bargain?

more reading: this article gives a good summary of what to look for on aliexpress that is likely transferable to other vendors.

:: PLAN AHEAD

3.2) some things you should buy before you need them: phone cords for instance, if you’re down to your last one or two order more from China and save on the Amazon.

a) it can be good to try from multiple suppliers as some may arrive sooner or not at all

3.3) Electronic products (books, courses, etc.) are a huge thing, now. I highly recommend that you seek out the free content before you go paying for anything.

Featured Photo by JÉSHOOTS from Pexels

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Okay, I’ll tell you. Snopes is generally considered to be a reliable source. Fact-checkers are employed by mainstream media and their actual job is to make sure that the things that go into the newspaper are true. Is MSM perfect? No. Quotes get taken out of context, situations get perhaps distorted to soundbites. But they do make corrections, and a lot of online publications don’t actually have fact-checkers.

Google scholar (scholar.google.com) is helpful for some things, especially typing in the subject and “metanalysis” to see if there is universal scientific acceptance of a principal. If it’s politics? Who cares, they all lie anyways. Vote for who you’re going to vote for, protest if you see the need or feel it will do good, but don’t let politics rule your life – and for god’s sake, try to find common ground with the other side, things that we can all agree on, like “children deserve a quality education” or at least to be free from bullying, and things like “the least that we can do for our children is make an effort to recycle as much as possible – even though it is in imperfect and in some places they do not have great recycling systems, they will get caught eventually and we should have good habits.

What’s happening in people’s lives and with their personal proclivities don’t matter as long as it’s between consenting adults. As for immigration, one person simply cannot understand all the positives and negatives that come with it, legal and non – but when you steal people from other countries and torture and enslave them, a little bit of continued immigration that some feel is undesirable might be considered karmic.

Even in my city, “people from elsewhere in the country are worse than the people from here! Especially those people who are most noticeably different from us, even though I have never spoken to them.” I literally just read that comment yesterday, though I am paraphrasing and they were referring to a linguistic difference. Why do people need to be so xenophobic when we’re even talking about the same nationality? People can be jerks or saints of any race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, however abled or differently abled and whether they identify as (or actually are) human, animal, plant, or rock.

Get over yourself and love your human siblings. The distant ones, not your sister who was a bitch growing up. Yeah, don’t call her on her birthday, she can stew.

Love,

The INTERNET

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