Last week there was a lot of news going around the claim that IE users had lower IQ than users of other web browsers. As soon as I heard the story I felt bad about peoples’ conclusions, and after it was announced to be fake, it confirmed it even more.
How “news” are created
First, looking at how fast it all caught on, that numerous news outlets reported about it and it made big headlines, it is both surprising and saddening how poor some fact-checking seem to be. I understand that it wasn’t “important” news that would change peoples’ lives, but it still is news.
News organizations have a responsibility that the things they report are indeed true, and if they start bending that rule, why would we give them the benefit of credibility to them in other cases? A recommendation for people working with news is to employ more critical thinking, just as they were taught to be in the first place, and investigate before they blindly republish.
The spirit of the web – about respecting users
The other part in this is the reason why probably so many believed it, is that they badly wanted it to be true. Lots of web developers have had grief developing for Internet Explorer over the years, and in some kind of misguided attempt to get even, they felt it would be ok to have a reason to disrespect the users of that web browsers.
And this is a really disconcerting issue. It is not the spirit of the web: the web is there for everyone! No matter what IQ level, gender, color of skin, background, level in the society, financial situation etc you have.
If we are serious in maintaining the most democratic medium we have gotten in the history of mankind, we need to start respecting each other and try to understand where people are coming from. Discuss things in a normal manner instead of resorting to name-calling, read the excellent advice on how to disagree if you need to discuss something, and be constructive and respectful in all interaction you have with your fellow humans.
Let’s make the web a good thing. For everyones’ sake.