[PW] Websites for kids

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Wed Nov 11 18:26:34 PST 2015

Sylvia Milne scripsit:

> What I really want is "When I am searching the Internet, how can I
> tell if a website is reputable?"

This is like asking, "When I am searching the Yellow Pages, how can
I tell if a plumber is reputable?"  If you live in a big city (and
Internet City is the biggest), you probably can't, at least not directly.
One approach is to check the sites you trust already, and whether they
link (in a positive way) to the site in question.  Google PageRank is
a simplified version of this.  Another is to ask savvy people (most
of us know some) for personal recommendations about specific sites.
In the area of Internet rumors, I recommend snopes.com.  Wikipedia has
errors and biases, but the list of cited sources in a given article is
usually excellent.  Yahoo Answers is not to be trusted.

Otherwise, you can only fall back on common sense.  If a site provides
a quotation like "The trouble with the Internet is that there are so
many unreliable sources on it" and attributes it to Abraham Lincoln,
you can pretty much write off at least that part of the site as a joke.
Sites filled with spelling and grammar errors, unless they are about
non-English-speaking countries or the like, are probably not reliable.
Just employ the same sense of ordinary commercial prudence that you
would employ when hiring a plumber, and you may be occasionally misled
but will probably not be too woefully befooled.

John Cowan          http://www.ccil.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
But that, he realized, was a foolish thought; as no one knew better than
he that the Wall had no other side.
        --Arthur C. Clarke, "The Wall of Darkness"

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