Tags:


Gotcha!
October 6, 2008 1:45 AM   Subscribe

Nothing But The Truth: Internet Hoaxes

previously
posted by chuckdarwin (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks fake to me.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:31 AM on October 6, 2008


Fake! Oh, wait...
posted by nickyskye at 2:46 AM on October 6, 2008


Well, nickyskye... that worked out nicely.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:01 AM on October 6, 2008


No, it's true, really.
posted by daniel_charms at 3:26 AM on October 6, 2008


Similarly: The Daily Mail in the UK falls for the fans remix of Britney and Tyra Banks... One of our local TV stations, 40 Principales, also showed this as news...
posted by benzo8 at 3:54 AM on October 6, 2008


Actually, the article makes some very good points. And I like that you've posted this a day after homunculus' post about magical thinking. It's good to think about the process of believing something, about knee jerk doubt and gullibility. More than ever it seems important not to jump to conclusions but to be able to reason clearly, to think things through, to be able to trust and not trust in mature, steady, adult ways.

And it's fun to think about The Sonseed Question being written about so seriously, lol

that worked out nicely

Did you post knowing The Sonseed Question had come up on Metafilter recently?

When I posted about my cherished Nick Pitera (whose career seems to be taking off now thanks to viral YouTube) it was fascinating to see how the "Fake" term appeared and it was/is a constant in YouTube comments.

On the one hand there is a tremendous contempt for people who question the motives or truth of a situation. They are put down as conspiracy theorists, "the truth nuts". Then, on the other hand, there are people who seem to enjoy the prowess of saying something is false without giving whatever it is much thought, just yelling "Fake!".

I think a lot of the "Fake!" yellers are doing so about things that they assume have been photoshopped or audioshopped (whatever the real term for that is). With digital alteration so easy these days, what used to be "seeing is believing" is no longer. I've been duped a few times by stuff that has been photoshopped, because I come from a generation where altering photos so outrageously and realistically wasn't possible. It will probably take me a few more times being duped to be more cautious about just believing any photograph.

I'm used the process of doubting something based on my experience of life but have yet to learn how to intelligently doubt and look up the veracity of a photograph.

Just last night I was thinking of doing a Sunday night post on giant things, like giant caterpillars, and I came across the photo of the giant skeleton. My jaw dropped. Holy Anatomy, how the hell could that be real?! Sure enough it wasn't. But in these days of giant squids (just kidding), giant squids, a giant boar or a flying dude turning up, there is that moment when the possibility might be real.

I've known for a while that compulsive naivete can be a type of defense mechanism of a wounded person. And now I think it's possible that compulsive skepticism can also be defensive, rather than an aspect of a balanced thinking process. The point seems to be able to balance reasoned caution with trust based on experience.
posted by nickyskye at 3:55 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Did you post knowing The Sonseed Question had come up on Metafilter recently?

Partially. I had skimmed over that hoo-hah without ever listening to the hilariously earnest, silly, unbelievably odd song. I mainly posted it because it's a great article and the supporting links point out how gullible and lazy most people are:

"I mean, snopes is pretty easy to use, mom... Surely five minutes of research would be better than just blindly forwarding everything your sister sends you."
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:05 AM on October 6, 2008


"I mean, snopes is pretty easy to use, mom... Surely five minutes of research would be better than just blindly forwarding everything your sister sends you."

Always wondered - has Snopes ever gotten something really wrong, or been duped themselves?
posted by jbickers at 4:18 AM on October 6, 2008


Surely five minutes of research would be better than just blindly forwarding everything

Oh please. The steady barrage of hilariously transparent bs I've received over the years from well meaning but spectacularly gullible/superstitious people has been majorly aggravating.

it's a great article and the supporting links point out how gullible and lazy most people are

But the article makes an excellent point about people who also automatically yell "Fake!" without thinking. It's not only a question of gullibility but now there is also knee jerk distrust, which is also lazy.
posted by nickyskye at 4:19 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


has Snopes ever gotten something really wrong, or been duped themselves?

Not to my knowledge, but I'm sure they would always print some sort of update when they get fresh information.

...there is also knee jerk distrust, which is also lazy.

I tend to distrust everything on the net as a matter of course, especially free guitar tabs... mainly because every single fucking one of the bastard things is WRONG. So wrong, in fact, that some of them are unintentionally hilarious in the wrongness. Wrong key, wrong tuning, wrong position, wrong voicing, wrong everything... all with no rhythmic context whatsoever.

I look at almost anything I get forwarded via email as an amateur guitar tab.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:29 AM on October 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm sure they would always print some sort of update when they get fresh information.

I tend to distrust everything on the net as a matter of course


Interesting disparity here ... you distrust everything on the net, except Snopes?
posted by jbickers at 4:35 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not everything on the net, just guitar tabs and forwarded email links :-)
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:42 AM on October 6, 2008



It's funny, I used to get really irritated with hoaxes, and really enjoyed debunking them. In the process of being That Guy, I became fascinated with the way that hoaxes developed and propagated.

This question I Asked a while ago was fun, because I got to see someone attempt to plant the seeds of a pretty compelling hoax. It was debunked quickly, but a lot of visitors to the original Monster Brains blog (which was edited to give the artist credit and, sadly, to exclude the hoax) and the 4chan thread were taken in immediately, without asking any questions whatsoever. I'm sure the original poster in the chan thread knew damn well who the artist was and what he was doing. The most interesting part was to see people who seemed to believe the hoax after it had been exposed, because it made me wonder if they were going to send the story on to others -O!M!G! they make dolls out of BABIES!. Some people just really enjoy being fooled, even by stories that are transparently untrue.

I have even been told that the truth is "only your opinion."
posted by louche mustachio at 4:45 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"but that didn't stop debate raging as to its veracity among the wide-eyed and pea-brained at such hotbeds of radical thought as Yahoo! Answers"

Now that's just mean!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 4:49 AM on October 6, 2008


Ok, some of my fave viral hoaxes. One I did not fall for, well only about 10 seconds, Bonsai Kitten. One I did, that damn teddy bear icon virus. LOL! God, I felt like (and was) a dufus after I deleted that little teddy bear and found out it was a hoax.

Recently in MetaChat somebody posted about John McCain's collapse.
posted by nickyskye at 4:57 AM on October 6, 2008


has Snopes ever gotten something really wrong, or been duped themselves?

There was the Michael Moore stink after 9/11. Discussion here.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 4:59 AM on October 6, 2008


Snopes has a Trolling section intended to be illustrative of the importance of skepticism and doubt, even of Snopes. TV producers too lazy to even check Snopes' references apparently fell for one of the troll stories.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:21 AM on October 6, 2008


The dossier/Snopes approach doesn't work because it attempts to apply facts and reason to people who are not interested in either facts or reason.
posted by blasdelf at 5:21 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tend to distrust everything on the net as a matter of course, especially free guitar tabs... mainly because every single fucking one of the bastard things is WRONG. So wrong, in fact, that some of them are unintentionally hilarious in the wrongness. Wrong key, wrong tuning, wrong position, wrong voicing, wrong everything... all with no rhythmic context whatsoever.

And what's stranger still is that they are all wrong in the same way. It's almost as if someone setting up a new guitar tab archive site just cuts and pastes someone else's work, (which in turn was just a wholesale cut and paste of someone else's). Very strange.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:00 AM on October 6, 2008


Yeah, this happened to me. In the infamous video of Eddie Vedder drinking the contents of my stomach I've linked to several times now, someone commented " Fake. You'd die doing that". So I responded "Oh, I heard I'm still alive..."
posted by Tube at 6:09 AM on October 6, 2008


xkcd has a comic relevant to every topic on the internets
posted by device55 at 6:11 AM on October 6, 2008


A lot of good points in that article.

"Shouting a highly sceptical "Fake!" at everything doesn't make them an independent, intelligent thinker – it actually means that they've lost the ability to be sceptical about voices of scepticism."
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 6:22 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


People automatically think "Fake" because most of the virals these days are actually finely crafted by hollywood for some dumb movie. Producers and directors have gotten pretty good at replicating reality when they need to. Also, I got a chuckle out of the theory that Barbara Hamel and David Mikkelson are putting these rumors out there, in order to de-bunk them on their site. Disprove that!
posted by pepcorn at 6:39 AM on October 6, 2008


device55

You are more correct than you know: XKCD on Snopes
posted by educatedslacker at 6:43 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


People automatically think "Fake" because most of the virals these days are actually finely crafted by hollywood for some dumb movie.

Or in some cases, a ski resort.
posted by educatedslacker at 6:46 AM on October 6, 2008


The "comments culture" of websites these days

Someone should look into this comment culture and write a book about it because it seems to dominate a large portion of many peoples lives and I am pretty sure if effects how people think for better and worse.
posted by stbalbach at 6:51 AM on October 6, 2008


You can't handle the truth!
posted by Kabanos at 7:03 AM on October 6, 2008


Disprove that!

Lo, thou hast summarised all religions.
posted by chuckdarwin at 7:12 AM on October 6, 2008


The Mythbusters are even more sinister
posted by device55 at 7:13 AM on October 6, 2008


Interesting disparity here ... you distrust everything on the net, except Snopes?

I think it's a relatively reasonable policy. Snopes is one of the one sites that I know of, including the sites of major news networks, that thoroughly fact checks every piece of information that it publishes. Snopes is pretty much the definition of all signal and no noise, whereas the net in general has a lot of noise mixed in.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:24 AM on October 6, 2008



Actually those forwarded dmails (dumb) serve a valuable purpose. They enable me to categorize friends and relatives into telling categories. Rational, dumb, dumber, and dumbest.
posted by notreally at 7:24 AM on October 6, 2008


Snopes is pretty much the definition of all signal and no noise

Except for the dizzying array of POP-UP ADS.

Other than that, yeah, I enjoy Snopes.
posted by grubi at 7:33 AM on October 6, 2008


Except for the dizzying array of POP-UP ADS.

What are these "pop-up ads" you speak of?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:35 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Holy shit! You mean things on the Internet aren't real?!
posted by m0nm0n at 8:37 AM on October 6, 2008


I have even been told that the truth is "only your opinion."

But their lies are the unvarnished truth...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:15 AM on October 6, 2008


Also, while I enjoyed the first link, I was surprised by the absense of Bonzai Kittens. That website, when it debuted, spread very quickly across the internet and ignited a hellfire storm of outrage. There wasn't a corner of the web you could go to without someone raging about Bonzai Kitten.

The fake diary of Steve Jobs and Landover Baptist Church are pretty funny, in the same vein would be w4prez.com (now extinct but parked), and of course Real Ultimate Power.

It seems that these hoax and satire sites have sort of faded into obscurity, with a few exceptions, since firing off an e-mail with a Photoshopped image is a lot easier than building website. Pity that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:28 AM on October 6, 2008


That said, at least we still have whitehouse.org and soon, God willing, georgewbush.org will launch the digital library.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:55 AM on October 6, 2008


One of the first things that comes to mind whenever the subject of knee-jerk calling "Fake!" comes up, was from the Reversible Flow thread from last year. Grouse caught the youtube comment;

"tomomazo (3 weeks ago)
your lieing, its a hologram or somthing."


And synaesthetichaze noted:

"The dude's ignorance is even more hilarious because he is convinced that it's a fucking hologram, and not a demonstration of scientific principles. He believes in the made-up, nonexistent technology and not the science."


To me, this has become a perfect example of cognitive failure; the youtube commenter doubted the veracity of the video, ok, but to then suggest that it was instead accomplished by means of a non-existent technology? Awesome!

I think of this whenever my first instinct to call bullshit on something I don't understand comes up. And then I go and check to make sure that no one is lieing to me before I publicly state that something is or isn't real.
posted by quin at 10:33 AM on October 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Marisa, I think you're thinking of Bonsai Kittens. The Bonzai Kittens were an eponysterically short-lived Shonen Knife cover band (signature outfit: aviator caps with little sewn on catears) who insisted on the crew wearing polyester "paws" during all of their shows. All of their crew, including their pyro guy.
posted by adipocere at 10:46 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Right you are, adipocere. It's even spelled "bonsai" in the URL.

And this band, I have to see.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:49 AM on October 6, 2008


I had a moderately popular video on youtube last year of some simple, primitive robots playing musical instruments. Some of the commenters insisted that it was a fake, all done with stop-motion animation. Man, that would've been a hundred times harder than just making robots!
posted by moonmilk at 11:18 AM on October 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


How was Fake Steve a hoax? It was really Steve Jobs all along, instead of Dan Lyons? Or ... wait, is that the hoax? I'm confused.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:22 PM on October 6, 2008


« Older Aptly named hardcore deconstructionists Fucked Up ...  |  Luc Montagnier, Francoise Barr... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments