Fear of Being Wrong on the Internet
Eugene Volokh explains why he's not writing on a controversial subject recently in the news: He doesn't know enough about it and doesn't want to be wrong.
Eugene Volokh, responding to emailed queries as to why he and his fellow Conspirators are not writing on a controversial subject recently in the news, explains:
I can’t speak for my colleagues, but here are three things I’m scared of:
- Looking like a fool when I opine on a topic about which I don’t know enough, and thus get the facts or the analysis wrong.
- Getting facts or analysis wrong, even if I don’t look like a fool.
- Falling yet further behind on my various other responsibilities, as a result of taking the time to learn enough about a complicated, controversial, fact-rich question so that I can opine on it without being wrong.
I think the world would be a better place if people were more scared of things 1 and 2.
But where would the blogosphere be with that attitude?