Think tanks: Independent does not mean objective

Thinker1

Somewhere along the way, in the debate of public policy issues, we seem to have forgotten that “independent” does not necessarily mean “objective”. Think tanks in particular are the guiltiest in using this sleight of hand. In stressing that they are independent scholarly organisations, think tanks attempt to lay claim to a higher moral ground that comes from academic objectivity. […]

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Should online commenters register with a credit card?

I’ve lodged a comment today on Greg Jericho’s latest interesting piece at The Drum about privacy and freedom to comment. My reason for doing so is the confusion that seems to have arisen about whether online commenters should register with a credit card. I recall discussing this with both Greg and Jonathan Green at The Drum, so thought I would share my views on how/why it could be done. This is what I had to say: Another nice piece Grog. The irony of the Australian doing a feature on you yesterday was extreme to say the least. Only to be exceeded, in fact, by your graciousness and generosity in doing the interview IMHO. On the credit card point. I think that might have been something you and I once discussed. If so, I suggested that paying $1 by credit card to register to comment on an online news/opinion site would be more effective in proving that one is a “real” person than using one’s Facebook profile (which is a method used by some media organisations). Using emails addresses or Facebook profiles does not weed out anonymous or pseudonymous commenters (clearly), or the astroturfing that can be perpetrated by them. But paying $1 by credit card demonstrates you are actually who you say you are, because the issuing bank will have made sure of that before issuing it to you. Or you would hope so……

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Time to throw out the astroturf and step forward

Green Grass

Astroturfing denotes political, advertising, or public relations campaigns that are formally planned by an organization, but are disguised as spontaneous, popular “grassroots” behavior. The term refers to AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass. Wikipedia.com At any given point in time activists, political parties or business interests are at the forefront of techniques carefully honed […]

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