RECOGNIZE THE PROBLEM. Understand that the internet’s various social media accumulate information from all sources. All posts are given equal weight. What happens to that information once posted is up to the media platform (Quora, Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc.) and YOU.
KNOW YOUR INFORMATION BIASES. What you see in the world depends on how you see it. Understand how and why you react and what triggers your emotions.Commentators featured by the internet information silo where you spend most of your time often present a single point of view. Monitor your internet behavior. Poke your head out of your information silo every once in a while for a breath of fresh air!
LEARN HOW TO IDENTIFY LIES. Gossips and rumormongers sometimes unwittingly spread lies. They are misinforming you. Propagandists spread lies for a political purpose. They mean to mislead you with disinformation campaigns. Regardless of the poster’s motivations, lies are lies! Learn how to distinguish facts from lies.
WHEN YOU SEE BIAS, LIES, ETC. SAY SOMETHING! Growling and grumbling to yourself gets you ulcers. Avoid upset. Let others know what you have discovered. ON QUORA, respond to “questions” that are actually statements by:
answering the question. Try (though this may be hard in many instances) to respond as respectfully as you can. Do not engage in name-calling or disparage the character of the person who asked the question.
using the pencil icon to edit the topics for the question. On the original question, you can (as of now) both add appropriate topics and delete those which do not apply.
clicking the “Report” option on the drop-down menu generated when you click (….) to report the “question” to Quora moderators as “insincere.” If Quora mods agree, they will likely add the caution note shown in yellow below. More rarely, Quora mods may also delete the question or leave it as is. Do not expect to hear back from the mods directly. By the way, in extreme cases, you can also report the offending questioner by clicking their name to go to their profile, then clicking (…) next to their name for the drop-down menu. If they respond by with insult or toddlers’ name-calling, BLOCK their ability to communicate with you directly by clicking those (…) on their profile and selecting “block.”
PERSIST. You are not alone. There are many here on Quora and on other platforms who have your back. On Quora, they will upvote your answers, edit topics and file reports when they see something, too. Your efforts may be a mere skirmish in a much larger battle, but they are very important and will be effectual.
CARRY ON! Look on the bright side.As Gen. Colin Powell used to say,optimism is a force multiplier!
Reliable sources CAN BE IDENTIFIED. Sources with vague identities or way-too-clever names should be ignored. Occasionally, sources cannot be pinned down at all. Always look for the source. For instance, blogs run by individuals or groups are notorious for their sketchy identities.
Circular citations or looped sources are a giveaway that the post you are reading is using a CHAIN of CITATIONS that each refer to the other in an endless loop of deception and tedious propaganda. [Thanks for the tip from Daniel Gage!]
College web sites usually have something of interest to say on this topic. Here’s an example from Cornell University:
Be wary of information “silos.” It is easy to be led around by the nose on the web. Sites are designed to capture and keep your attention. Are you on a suite of sites that all have the same philosophical/political outlook or present only one side of an issue? If so, it’s time to leave for more neutral territory, at least for a while!
CONSIDER THE CONTENT.
Sensational, is it? Does it catch your eye as something extraordinary? Bear in mind that the sensational breakthrough or startling revelation is RARE. Yes, it is something that will attract your attention, but why? Be on the lookout for nefarious motivations.
Product advertising is usually pretty obvious. Sometimes it is disguised as ordinary text, or here on Quora as just another answer, but usually it is deliberately distinctive.
Propaganda or political indoctrination, however, is deliberately camouflaged. Obscured behind clever names, groups promote agendas using many deceptions.