May 20, 2002

Petition Update - It is,

Petition Update - It is, indeed, a hoax. This petition was suspiciopus from the git-go (as suggested in the comments the post "List of Idiots" below). Now I've found verification on the blog. The "troll" has fessed up (if we are to believe the discussion on kuro5hin). I choose to believe it. Notice that the troll elicited more "this is stupid" comments than signatures before it was shut down. Faith in humanity restored? Not by a longshot, but I am a little relieved.

I feel a little embarassed to have posted the troll here. While I did leave open the possibility it was a hoax, and mentioned it in the comments, I really should have either been more careful, or discussed the possibility in the post itself. Today's rapid communications allow for misinformation to travel faster than information. This story even ended up on MSNBC who were at least as credulous as I was. Heck, they tried to talk to New Line about it. But they didn't try to verify the petition. In fact, they have Peter Jackson commenting on thinking about a name change, but dismissing it. However, it appears he had not seen the petition at the time he made those comments.

This is what we have to look forward to. Online news travelling faster than verification. Verification coming on its heels. Invalidation of the original communication. Communication bandwidth being taken up more by meta-communication than about the original subject itself. We see this happening already on cable news whenever a big story hits. The rush to get some information - any information - for the talking heads to read turns reliability into roadkill.

Is it possible that the increased speed of communication will lead to the death of useful and reliable communication? (Getting a little philosophical here)

Posted by James at May 20, 2002 1:15 AM
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