|Photo: Steve L. Martin|
You've heard of common sense. But have you ever heard of common consensus?
We are all moving so fast that it's sometimes hard to know what is real and what is fake. There are countless examples of impostor ecommerce websites being yanked from the web because they're posing as brand name sites, but are actually defrauding innocent shoppers.
But how many times do we hear of impostor information websites -- those that are peddling their knowledge but are defrauding learners? We would say it's rare that any of these sites are pushed off the web. As a result, you have to be careful what you trust!
One method of separating good information from bad is through the Rule of Common Consensus -- using multiple sites to verify the information. Here are three basic principles you should abide by when learning on the web:
1) Never trust the first response on a forum. WHY? If you find an answer to your question on a public forum, be sure there are multiple answers posted my multiple people. It will add clarity and provide a deeper answer.
2) Triangulate your information with at least two other sites. WHY? You want to verify the answer to your question through multiple independent sources to find the correct information.
3) If your second or third triangulation sources are identical to the first, find more sources. WHY? One of the authors may have found the same source as you and just copied it verbatim. You'll never know if it's correct information or not.
The Rule of Common Consensus is not simply to find as many similar responses as possible. It's to vet out all of the angles of the query and hear different viewpoints. Only when you have all of the information can you verify that the information is solid.
But, after all of this, don't forget the Rule of Common Sense. If what you read seems too good to be true, it probably is.