In this new era where anyone can publish anything any time, the ability to discern what’s probably true and what’s probably bullshit is more important than ever.
In an article titled “Sorting Out the Truth”, Jerry Michalski proposes a quick way to score an item that you come across:
A quick credibility score
We need a way to evaluate quickly the credibility of items as they cross our path, the way newborns are evaluated with the Apgar Score.
In the interest of creating such a score for news, allow me to suggest DICOT (no idea if there’s a floral metaphor here; work with me):
- Detail: 0 = important details missing; 2 = all questions addressed, given situation
- Identity: 0 = no disclosure; 2 = reliable disclosure of trustworthy person(s)
- Context: 0 = spin condition red; 2 = few reasons to suspect malice
- Openness: 0 = no contact or info shared; 2 = open content, all questions answered
- Tone: 0 = could be a joke; 2 = straightforward and serious
So a perfect DICOT score is a 10.
Michalski uses last year’s “Flying Like a Bird” video – which garnered millions of views but turned out to be a well-made hoax – as an example of how his DICOT score could be employed:
DICOT would be a nice way to do a quick assessment of initial news reports and rumors, as well as deeper reports later. Let’s put “birdwings” through it.
- Detail: 0 – important details missing everywhere
- Identity: 1 – mysterious disclosure – I’m being charitable
- Context: 1 – it’s a big claim; people lie a bit in these situations, to get attention
- Openness: 0 – no info shared
- Tone: 0 – could be a joke
The noble birdwingers would rack up an impressive 2 out of 10, which would be a nice warning to all.