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As I am getting increasingly involved in research based studying, there is one particular segment that often gets me thinking - citation and references. Nope, it’s not restricted to just that. It’s about sources on the internet - which ones are reliable and which ones are not.
With internet connection becoming widely available and accessible to one and all, the power to put anything and everything online has also reached out to everyone. A very basic example is that on searching for anything through search engines, the first suggested link is Wikipedia. Now, Wikipedia, in actuality is a website that can be edited by people like you and me. Voila! Credibility?
What’s more? There are millions of websites out there that started by just about anyone. In this maze of information, it’s hard to know what is true, what has been mistakenly uploaded and what is online to intentionally mislead the audience.
Personally, I feel that the scariest and most impactful involvement of said misinformation is in academics and politics. The degree of education and politics of a country indicates its growth, general mindset and overall potential.
Academic citation has to be done very carefully. If academic works are a given structure, if the base blocks aren’t strong, entire studies can fall to the ground. Certainly, there are some coveted search tools like Britannica, published books by renowned authors and others, as a student, I feel that the need of the hour is to educate young scholars to identify good information from bad information. This should take place at home as well as in school and should take place on a continuous basis.
In terms of politics, it is no secret that easily accessible non-credible sources often end up as fuel to already heightened divisions between diverse social, economic, religious and racial groups.
Today, it is imperative that we all acknowledge this and attempt to disassociate from misinformation and irresponsibly presented facts and figures. In this too, I feel that volatile content of this nature must be controlled, either by the receiving end or by the platforms that make the spread of information possible.
Additionally, adults and children alike should educate themselves and improve information communication. Academia and politics are very important frameworks for the successful machinery of a country and we should ensure that the gears never fall apart due to misinformation.