January 25, 2009

"The wisdom of the crowds" isn't always wise - even that of online doctors

At a meeting of health bloggers at Consumer Reports in New York last week, there was a lively discussion that could have gone on for hours on the pros and cons of enabling "the wisdom of the crowd" to surface on health-related websites including blogs. In a very simplistic summary, those who promote such discussion say it democratizes the web and engages users in a "community" Those who have concerns are usually concerned about unmoderated discussions allowing quackery and downright harmful advice and information to be posted and remain online.

Consumer Reports' medical adviser Orly Avitzur, MD, mentioned one parallel concern: about the undue credibility that might be given to claims appearing on some physicians' websites.

Media Mill Video

The "wisdom of the crowds" is a complex topic, with many nuances.

Since I'm a journalist - from a traditional journalism background - the one area that I know gives me trouble is the news website that posts a story and user comments which are not moderated all the time. I have blogged about such a troublesome example I found in the New York Times. It's not hard to find many others.

(Please note: the video above is the first I've ever posted on this blog - after more than 4 years and more than 1,000 postings. It is an experiment. Let me know if you think such video clips are a good addition. There may be another tomorrow.)

Posted by schwitz at 7:53 AM | Comments (2)
StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!